The Washington Diplomats appeared headed toward "voluntary termination" yesterday afternoon, the club not having posted a $150,000 performance bond on which a midnight deadline was set.
Vince Casey, a spokesman for the North American League Soccer, said the league would make no announcement on the Diplomats' status until this morning. The NASL franchises in Atlanta and Anaheim (California) have announced termination, and those in Dallas and Calgary are close to folding. Jacksonville, which is in financial trouble, got at least a temporary reprieve last night when the owners agreed to put up a $150,000 bond.
Duncan Hill, the Diplomat owner and general manager, worked frantically yesterday to sell the club. Hill and his father Jimmy, the principal owner, have reportedly lowered their asking price by more than $1 million from the original $3 million.
The only other hope to keep Washington from losing its second soccer franchise in less than a year was for some group to put up the performance bond, allowing Duncan Hill more time to find a buyer.
"Nothing has been resolved as of now," Hill said yesterday afternoon. "But we're still talking. We're still hopeful something can be worked out this evening."
The franchise was moved here from Detroit Feb. 27 after the more successful Diplomats of Madison Square Garden folded last Dec. 8. But the Hills never found the major investor they needed to help stabilize the franchise.
The Hills, who reportedly owe nearly $700,000 to local creditors and $150,000 to the Pontiac Silverdome, have said they could lose $1 million from this season.