Nashville 1*-0 Georgia (forfeit)
August 30, 1982 — Brentwood Academy Eagle Field (Brentwood, Tenn.)
Generals AWOL, Forfeit Decision Expected Today
(Nashville Tennessean, 08.30.82)
By John Lewis Pitts
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — American Soccer League officials will decide today if the Nashville Diamonds will be awarded a forfeit victory after the Georgia Generals failed to show for last night’s match here.
ASL office manager Gay Moran said members of the league’s Board of Directors would meet in Rochester, N.Y., at 9 a.m. Nashville time to consider the situation, which found team officials on both sides offering their own version of events leading up to the non-game last night.
“From what I know about the situation, you would be safe in saying that Georgia is facing a ‘possible forfeit’ for not showing up in Nashville, but nothing will be official until it is acted on by the board,” Moran said last night.
Nashville officials, who saw their team’s season finale ruined by their no-show rivals, said Georgia owner Walt Russell had assured them yesterday afternoon that the team would be at Brentwood Academy in time for the 7:35 p.m. kickoff.
“He said the team would make every attempt to be here,” Diamonds spokesman John Swauger said.
Both Russell and Generals coach David Chadwick, contacted last night by the Atlanta Journal, said the two teams had made a verbal agreement to to play the contest because it would have no bearing on the final league standings. Georgia was already assured third place in the seven-team league, while Nashville is in last place.
The Diamonds owned a 2-21-4 record before last night.
According to Russell, he informed Nashville principal owner Ralph Woerheide of Chicago yesterday morning of the Georgia team’s plans not to appear here. Swauger, who talked to Woerheide at 1 p.m. yesterday, angrily denied Russell’s assertion.
“Mr. Woerheide told me that Georgia would absolutely have to come and play. I relayed that message to Russell and he assured me the team would make every attempt to be here,” Swauger recalled.
ASL official Moran said league rules prohibit verbal agreements to cancel regularly scheduled matches.
“A request not to play a game has to be in writing, and it must be approved by the league office. It can’t be a verbal agreement — we have rules we have to follow.”
Before game time, Swauger said he took the precaution of inviting the Nashville Blues amateur soccer team to be on hand in case the Georgia squad failed to show. The Blues and Diamonds played an exhibition match for the 300-400 fans who showed up expecting to see the Generals.
Just before game time, ASL president Prenk Curanaj called the Brentwood Academy press box and talked with Swauger.
“He inquired if the Georgia team had shown up, and I told him no. He said we were to wait 15 minutes after the scheduled starting time, then we could introduce our lineup and tell the crowd that we’d been awarded a forfeit,” Swauger said.
Generals public relations director Dave Barbulesko had called the Journal during the afternoon, informing them that, in his words, “the game has been called off by mutual agreement, because it would have no effect on the standings.”
Efforts to contact Barbulesko at his Marietta, Ga., home last night were unsuccessful.
Swauger said the Generals, a first-year ASL franchise which has suffered financial problems similar to those of the Diamonds, had asked the Nashville team not to come to Atlanta for the last scheduled meeting, but that “we were committed to fulfilling our obligations to the league.”
The Nashville team had agreed to pay for the Generals’ room and board for yesterday’s visit, Swauger said.
The soccer fans on hand for last night’s match were good-natured about the whole affair, most of them sticking around until halftime of the exhibition, which Nashville eventually won 11-1.
Less than 100 fans were on hand when the exhibition ended.
Nashville business manager Nelson Burns said only two people requested ticket refunds, which were made.