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Los Angeles Times, January 1, 1975

Don't Count WFL Out, Says Sun's Hatfield

By Earl Gustkey

ANAHEIM -" The probability factor of the World Football League's survival is 90%, according to Southern California Sun president, Larry Hatfield.

"It didn't look too good at the end of our first season, but things have been happening," he said. "I'd say the chances are 90% we'll be playing again this summer, although a lot of changes will have been made."

Hatfield himself made a change recently. He fired general manager, Curly Morrison. The move, it is believed, paves the way for Sam Battistone of Santa Barbara to purchase the club.

Hatfield admitted Tuesday he's "just around the corner" from completing a deal with Battistone in which the part owner of the Hawaiians will become the Sun's majority owner.

"The two of them have made a deal and I'm out," Morrison said. "I think the two of them want to run the club."

While Hatfield strives to get the Sun refinanced, new WFL president Chris Hemmeter has set up shop in New York. In February, the WFL will open its new offices at 33 West 56th Street. The league's Newport Beach offices were shut down three weeks ago.

"Hemmeter is going about restructuring of the league quietly," Hatfield said.

"He wants at least eight teams with their financial situations back in order by February 1. Each club will have to have all its "playing money" -" salaries, stadium rent, and travel expenses -" up front. That's about $750,000."

The WFL is working inside a time squeeze, Hatfield said.

"The whole thing has got to be put together in a few weeks. The clubs have to be able to start season ticket campaigns pretty soon."

Battistone, 35-year old board vice-chairman of Sambo's Restaurants, Inc, may bring some of the Hawaiians' players with him if he buys into the Sun.

The Hawaiians, it's been learned, may be disbanded, with some of the players coming to the Sun with Battistone and others to Jacksonville, where the league is attempting to resuscitate the Sharks.

Battistone, who owns 65% of the NBA's New Orleans Jazz, maintains the WFL's "comeback" is progressing satisfactorily.

"We've made great strides in the last six weeks," he said.

"I'd say the chances that we'll be around for another season are extremely strong."