The Alliance of American Football has faced its share of challenges during its young life—and it appears that they have another one on their hands. Another person has claimed that the idea for the league is his and has decided to sue.
According to Robert Vanech, CFO and Head of Revenue at Trebel Music, claims that he came up with the concept and had a “handshake agreement” with AAF founder Charlie Ebersol. He says Ebersol has ignored their agreement and he wants credit for his idea and a 50 percent stake in the league.
In his suit, Vanech goes on to claim that the league met was going to go with the XFL name at first and even met with NBC and WWE to discuss purchasing the defunct league’s assets for $50 million. Vanech claims that after this meeting, he and Ebersol disagreed on whether they were in business together or not.
Ebersol has denied that any handshake ever took place. Vanech claims that what Bill Polian has been credited with were actually his ideas.
The AAF responded to the suit exactly as you would expect:
“Mr. Vanech’s claim is without merit. There was never any agreement, oral or written, between Mr. Vanech and Mr. Ebersol relating to The Alliance….”
The statement went on to say that the league remains focused on the task at hand—playing football.
What makes this news more concerning is that the AAF has already had financial issues. Reports surfaced recently claiming that the league was not going to be able to make payroll in Week Two. The league eventually acknowledged the ‘payroll’ rumor and said the issue was not related to finances but switching payroll services.
But in the same report, it was announced that the league had found an investor, Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon. In exchange for his investment of $250 million, Dundon was named the chair of the league’s Board of Directors.
The Orlando Apollos are being forced to take a bus across state lines to a Georgia high school for practice because the state of Georgia doesn’t consider athletes ‘employees’ when it comes to workers’ comp laws.
As the troubles and challenges continue to build for the AAF, it becomes more and more apparent why Vince McMahon decided to take two years to get the new XFL off the ground (he wants to deal with these challenges before they become issues.