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Ex-NFLers back new pro football league

© GETTY/AFP/File | Former NFL general manager and Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Polian is a founder of the eight-team Alliance for American Football league along with television and film producer Charlie Ebersol

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - 

The Alliance for American Football on Tuesday announced plans for a new gridiron league, aiming to steal a march on the returning XFL in the bid to woo NFL fans.

Former NFL general manager and Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Polian is a founder of the eight-team league along with television and film producer Charlie Ebersol.

Former NFL players Jared Allen, Troy Polamalu, Hines Ward and Justin Tuck are also involved.

The league plans to launch on February 9, 2019, six days after Super Bowl 53 is played in Atlanta.

That's a year before world wrestling tycoon Vince McMahon is planning to relaunch the XFL, a competition that lasted for one season in 2001 and which billionaire McMahon said in January he would reopen in 2020.

The Alliance already has broadcast plans lined up.

Its opening game as well as the championship game on the weekend of April 26-28, 2019 are to be televised on the CBS network.

Other games will be telecast on the CBS Sports Network.

Over the next 12 weeks, cities and coaches will be announced.

"I was fortunate to live my dream of playing professional football for 12 years and I am eager to use my experience to help shape The Alliance in a way that will create the best possible environment for players," said Allen, who had 136 sacks while playing in 187 NFL games with Kansas City, Minnesota, Chicago and Carolina.

"As a former player, The Alliance's emphasis on player well-being on and off the field is something I'm proud to be a part of."

Allen said the Alliance will "provide unique opportunities to players who are still pursuing their dream, looking for a second chance to showcase their talents or aiming to extend their careers."

Allen, along with Polamalu and Ward, will be player relations executives, while Tuck will serve on a board of advisors.

The plan is for each team to have 50 players. Games will have no kickoffs or extra points. After touchdowns, a two-point conversion try will be required.

Polian said the league will offer talented players another place to shine, apart from the NFL.

"We will give players an opportunity to flourish on the field while establishing plans to support their personal and professional growth, health, safety and financial well-being," he said.

© 2018 AFP