US & Canada

LA Dodgers baseball team files for bankruptcy

Frank McCourt
Image caption Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said a television deal with the Fox network could have kept the team safe

The Los Angeles Dodgers baseball club has filed for bankruptcy in a Delaware court, blaming Major League Baseball for not approving a television deal that could have kept the team secure.

Bankruptcy permits the Dodgers to use $150m (£94m) for daily operations and gives the team time to to seek a media deal, the club said in a statement.

The statement added that the team would not be disrupted by its financial woes.

But reports indicated the Dodgers could have trouble meeting its next payroll.

"There will be no disruption to the Dodgers day-to-day business, the baseball team, or to the Dodger fans," team owner Frank McCourt said in a statement.

Mr McCourt has reportedly been struggling to meet payroll, having been heavily in debt and locked in a divorce battle with his estranged wife.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said last week that he would not approve a Dodgers television deal with the Fox television network that was reportedly worth $3bn (£1.8bn), saying it would not be in the best interests of the team, the game and fans.

The contract included a $385m upfront payment Mr McCourt has said is crucial to the team's financial stability.

Image caption The bankruptcy filings listed debts to several current and retired players

And not striking a deal has left Mr McCourt facing the prospect of missing the team payroll on 30 June, which could lead to a Major League Baseball takeover.

"We brought the commissioner a media rights deal that would have solved the cash flow challenge I presented to him a year ago," Mr McCourt said.

"He's turned his back on the Dodgers, treated us differently, and forced us to the point we find ourselves in today," Mr McCourt added, referring to Mr Selig.

The Dodgers began seeing "cash flow difficulties" last year due to a decline in attendance at the games, according to the bankruptcy filing.

The documents list debts to current and former players, including retired star Manny Ramirez, who is owed more than $20m.

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