• November 28, 2020

INDOOR FOOTBALL: Warbirds' inaugural season canceled due to effects of pandemic - Odessa American: Sports

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INDOOR FOOTBALL: Warbirds' inaugural season canceled due to effects of pandemic

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Posted: Tuesday, June 9, 2020 8:26 pm

The inaugural season for the West Texas Warbirds is now officially over before it even got started.

The Champions Indoor Football League announced Tuesday in a release on the league’s Facebook page that it was canceling the entire 2020 season due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Warbirds owner and general manager Leif Kertis told the Odessa American on Thursday that a decision on the league’s 2020 future was imminent based on recent conversations among the league’s board of directors.

He said that despite the challenges he knew the teams faced, there was still optimism that games could be played this year. That optimism was dashed with Tuesday’s announcement.

“It stinks honestly because we were looking forward to this 2020 season and kicking it off,” Kertis said. “Sometimes, things are out of our control. The best thing that we can do is move forward and try to make 2021 the best season that anyone has seen in the Midland-Odessa area for indoor football.”

There were a number of challenges getting the season started for the Warbirds. A delay in the shipment of team equipment back in March forced the first home game of the season, scheduled for March 14, to be pushed back a week. The season was officially postponed March 17 during the early stages of the pandemic.

Kertis said there was plenty of collaboration between the team and Ector County Coliseum in order to get some sort of season in.

Given the current restrictions put in place by Gov. Greg Abbott and state health officials, however, Kertis said it would not have been fair to fans or sponsors to ensure a quality experience.

He added that the other Texas team, the Amarillo Venom, was in a similar predicament.

“That’s not what anyone paid for,” he said. “Even at 25 or 50 percent, we couldn’t have guaranteed that the people who bought seats would have been able to sit together next to family or coworkers. We knew it was going to be a challenge.”

CIF commissioner Ricky Bertz echoed the sentiment, saying the league had come up with a number of contingency plans to start play.

“As a league, we wanted to exhaust every possibility, before taking the necessary actions that lead to this difficult decision,” Bertz stated in a statement. “Ultimately, public safety was our greatest priority.”

With the 2020 season now officially out of the picture, the league turns its focus to the 2021 season. Kertis said that league officials would begin meeting at the end of June to start making those plans.

As for players and coaches, Kertis said that the hope is to retain the entire coaching staff and be able to bring back most of the players that were signed to play this season.

Kertis added that he’s also looking for ways to keep the team involved in the Permian Basin in hopes for more success in 2021 when the team hopes to finally take the field.

“We’re part of the community,” Kertis said. “We want the economy to rebound and want to be a good partner in that. We just try to do the best we can with the time that we have before the season starts in 2021.”

Odessa, TX

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