New York (AFP) – The fate of the New York Cosmos is hanging in the balance as the club seeks assurances about the future of the crisis-plagued North American Soccer League, sources confirmed to AFP on Tuesday.

A club source with knowledge of the situation denied a report that the Cosmos had ceased operations and terminated contracts of its players and staff.

However the source confirmed that the future of the world famous club hinged on the outcome of talks between the NASL and US Soccer about the league.

“We haven’t made any decisions with regard to ceasing operations or anything like that,” the club source confirmed to AFP.

“Some player contracts haven’t been renewed or extended. But at the moment we haven’t said anything because we’re not sure what direction we’re going to go in.”

The uncertainty over the Cosmos comes with the NASL, the de facto second tier of football in the United States, facing the biggest crisis of its five-year history since it relaunched in 2011.

Three teams have left the league this year, with Minnesota United FC joining Major League Soccer in 2017 and the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Ottawa Fury FC both joining the United Soccer League.

“Teams have left, we’re not sure how it’s going to operate,” the Cosmos source said.

“The club are just trying to find out what the NASL has planned and what the league will look like going forward. That’s where it is at the moment… I’ve seen the reports. It is not correct to say we have ceased operations.”

A spokesman for the NASL was not immediately available for comment. 

The Cosmos are one of the most iconic club football brand in US soccer, thanks to their original incarnation in the 1970s when players such as Pele and Franz Beckenbauer donned the team’s famous white jersey.

The club was reborn in 2010, beginning play in the revived NASL in 2013 under manager Giovanni Savarese.

Former Spain and Real Madrid star Raul played for the club in 2014-2015, helping the team win the Soccer Bowl in 2015.