North American Soccer League Commissioner Phil Woosnam yesterday sent a Telex to all 21 league teams strongly urging that they not make any derogatory comments about the league or other league members to the media.
The message came after a story in The Washington Post in which a number of league owners and executives were critical of decisions made in the past by the league and skeptical about its future.
The Telex sent yesterday noted that a letter making the same request was being sent. But the Telex was sent first because many local reporters were following up on The Post's story and the league wanted the word to reach the teams before the press did.
The message noted, "The news media is not the proper forum for criticism. There is a forum within the league and it should be used."
Woosnam confirmed yesterday he sent the Telex and said "I don't think anybody is qualified to speak about someone else's situation. If they don't know firsthand about someone's problems, they should not be discussing them."
Woosnam reportedly was infuriated by comments made in the story about claims of mismanagement within the league and by severe criticism by many of the league's executives about the 1978 expansion and franchise jumping allowed during the last season. He called at least one of the executives quoted in the story to admonish him for his comments.