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January 22, 1986

Chicago Sting players were upset by owner Lee Stern's decision to postpone the team's Tuesday night Major Indoor Soccer League game with the Cleveland Force because of illness on the other team.

Stern agreed to postpone the Chicago Stadium contest until early April after learning that the Force was crippled by the flu.

Force owner Bert Wolstein said his team started coming down with the virus Friday night. He sent 13 players in the hospital Sunday and had only eight or nine players available to play in Chicago on Tuesday.

The Sting could have forced Cleveland to play shorthanded or forfeit the game, but Stern said, "I'm not made that way."

Sting midfielder Gerry Gray, however, called the decision "ridiculous," citing the fact Chicago is in last place in the MISL's Eastern Division and needs every victory it can get.

"I think as long as they had the minimum six players necessary to play the game, they should have done everything possible to play the game," he said.

Sting captain Karl-Heinz Granitza also disliked the postponement.

"I have played with the flu and fever of 102 several times in my career," he said.

But Stern said he was worried about contaminating his players and their fans if the game went on.

He also said Wolstein has agreed to pay the $3,500 it will cost the Sting to inform its season-ticket holders by overnight mailings that the game has been postponed.

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