July 12, 2024

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National Arena League files suit against AFL’s West Texas Desert Hawks over breach of contract

2 min read
Image features the West Texas Desert Hawks, National Arena League logo. The background is an official copy of the lawsuit

ODESSA, TX — One of Arena Football League’s newest expansion teams as part of the 2024 relaunch, may be in danger of exiting potentially as early as next week.

The National Arena League filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on April 25, alleging the West Texas Desert Hawks of a breach of contract and breach of covenant not to compete. The team played one season in the NAL from 2022-2023 as the Warbirds and finished 3-11.

According to the complaint, the Desert Hawks signed a three-year contract with the NAL and withdrew in September, 2023 to join the AFL under a new name. The NAL claims the agreement also includes a non-compete clause, which prevents a team from joining a competing league during the length of the contract even if the team withdraws.

“Section 5(d) of the agreement specifically provides that WTX shall not participate in any other business, entity, or organization that is involved in men’s professional or semi-professional arena or indoor football league in the United States for a period of three years following the termination of the agreement.” Attorneys for the NAL noted in the complaint.

The suit further describes the NAL’s bylaws, which requires a team to surrender all player contracts, lease of the arena and any organizational assets to the league if it voluntarily withdraws. The Desert Hawks has played home games at Ector County Coliseum since it was founded under the Arena Football Association in 2021.

The NAL is seeking a preliminary injunction, temporary restraining order and permanent injunction to prevent the Desert Hawks from participating in the Arena Football League and other competing leagues beginning this season until the contract expires in 2027.

“The NAL will suffer and continue to suffer irreparable injury from defendant’s actions for which it has no adequate remedy at law. If WTX is permitted to breach the agreement, the NAL will suffer damages, the exact nature and amount of which is impossible to ascertain.” The claim stated.

By filing the suit Thursday, the NAL were in court Friday in a last second push to halt the Desert Hawks’ opening game against the Georgia Force at home on Sunday. According to online publication Law360, the hearing ended without a decision because of time thus allowing the team to compete. The Desert Hawks won 51-28.

Per Law360, the hearing on the injunction is expected to continue Monday.

This remains a developing story and more details will be released as it emerges.

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[…] May 6, the National Arena League was granted its preliminary injunction against the Desert Hawks it initially filed on April 25, stating the team breached its three-year contract by leaving to join the Arena Football League. […]

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[…] to the first game of the season, the National Arena League sued the West Texas Desert Hawks in Georgia, for breaking its contract by leaving to join the AFL. The NAL were granted an […]

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