WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, Ohio — The Cleveland Force withdrew from the troubled Major Indoor Soccer League Friday, leaving the league with just seven teams and further threatening its survival.
The Force was one of the league's few successful franchises, averaging nearly 13,000 fans a game during the last five seasons, but owner Bert Wolstein said he became disgusted with negotiations to save the MISL.
"We nurtured this baby for the past 10 years and thought we had turned the corner, but . . . situations have arisen that have led us to believe we were wrong," Wolstein said.
Wolstein offered the franchise to the operators of the Richfield Coliseum, telling acting Coliseum president Art Savage, "You can have it for free," but Wolstein said the chances are "slim and none."
Since the end of the season, Minnesota, St. Louis, Chicago and Cleveland have withdrawn, and the futures of the Tacoma and current MISL champion San Diego franchises are uncertain.
The other teams in the league are the Lazers, Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City and Wichita.
The directors of the league have scheduled a conference call Monday at 9 a.m., PDT, to discuss the future of the league.
"We'll have to look ahead and see what we can do as a seven-team league," an MISL spokesman said in New York.