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WUSA still looking ahead

PHILADELPHIA -- Plans for a scaled-down WUSA season next year would likely include Boston, Breakers general manager Joe Cummings said last night.

But the possibility of reviving the league, which announced a ceasing of operations last week, is slim without new investment by next month.

"We have a window of opportunity in the next six weeks," said Cummings, venue director for Lincoln Financial Field.

Several plans have been discussed by a group led by WUSA players association lawyer John Langel. The WUSA could play in four to six cities, using a round-robin tournament format, each team playing eight to 12 games. Games would be played into late June, then players would be released to prepare for the Athens Olympics, which begin in August.

The purpose of the abbreviated schedule would be to keep the WUSA alive until a full, eight-team revival could be organized for 2005.

"We are dividing up responsibilities -- sponsorship, could the league be run differently, marketing money, instead of a weekly TV game maybe a once-a-week highlight show.

"We could come back with a different structure, a different model. We are better off than when we launched three years ago and we would have a whole year to set up. We are optimistic. Sponsors who were thinking about being involved really need to step up. This is an emotional time but we need reality. And that means someone writing a check."

The league announced losses of more than $100 million in three seasons, folding five days before the start of the Women's World Cup. League organizers hoped the timing of the announcement would stimulate interest from prospective investors.

Teams have closed offices, leaving more than 100 administrators and coaches, plus 160 players, unemployed.

Frank Dell'Apa

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