After AAF shutdown, players bought own plane tickets home: Report

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The Alliance of American Football’s sudden decision to suspend operations this week forced newly unemployed players to pay out of pocket for flights home, according to a report.

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The AAF, which has battled reports of financial issues since the start of its inaugural season, informed employees in a letter that they would no longer be employed as of Wednesday. While players and other personnel were paid through their last day of unemployment, they received no severance or reimbursement for final travel costs.

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As a result, players who had just received news that the league would end with weeks remaining in its first season were also left to buy their own plane tickets, TheMMQB’s Robert Klemko reported, citing a source familiar with the matter.

AAF representatives did not return a request for comment.

Billionaire Tom Dundon became the AAF’s majority investor and chairman last February, when he pledged $250 million in funding to the league amid reports that it was late making payroll after its first week of games. However, Dundon, who dispersed funding on a week-by-week basis, opted to shutter the league after failing to reach a deal with the NFL Players’ Association that would have allowed the AAF to use low-level NFL players on its rosters.

The AAF attempted to cut costs in the weeks ahead of the decision. In one instance, the league eliminated team meals on the night before games, replacing them with a $30 per diem for players, TheMMQB reported.

“Unfortunately, after careful consideration, the board has decided to suspend operations of the Alliance of American Football, effective immediately,” the league’s board said in a letter to employees. “As part of this process, we expect to keep a small staff on hand to seek new investment capital and restructure our business.”

The AAF added that it could return for a second season “should those efforts prove successful.”

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In the meantime, the dozens of players from the AAF’s eight teams will have to look for new jobs.

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