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The XFL joined other U.S. sports leagues on March 12 in suspending its season in order to comply with guidance from federal authorities against mass gatherings, including sporting events. At the time, the XFL, which was halfway through its inaugural season, said it was “committed to playing a full season in 2021 and future years.”
That commitment came into question after XFL CEO Jeffrey Pollack revealed in a conference call that most employees would be laid off, ESPN reported. While some XFL executives will remain employed, there was no indication that the league would adhere to its initial plan to continue to play next year.
"It's done," a prominent XFL staffer told ESPN. "It's not coming back."
The rebooted XFL was founded by World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon, who committed $500 million of his own money toward a league that sought to modernize traditional football. The financial commitment appeared to provide the XFL with an advantage over a previous incarnation of the league, which folded in 2001 due to money issues.
The XFL garnered initial praise for its innovative game broadcasts and had five weeks remaining in its regular season. When the season was suspended, players were informed that they would still be paid.
"Given the uncertainty of the current environment, the XFL has suspended operations and is evaluating next steps,” the WWE said in a statement.
If it does not return, the XFL would join a slew of other upstart leagues that have failed to establish themselves alongside the NFL. Another springtime football league, the Alliance of American Football, folded last year due to financial issues.