July 9, 2021

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CFL commissioner not counting on specific funding from federal government

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie continues to work with the federal authorities, however is not banking on CFL-specific funding to assist the league via the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CFL approached Ottawa final month for monetary help. The league’s three-part proposal referred to as for $30 million instantly, further monies for an abbreviated season and as much as $120 million extra within the occasion of a cancelled season.

“For the moment we continue to be in discussions with the federal government,” Ambrosie mentioned Tuesday. “They’ve pointed us to a few of the packages they’ve created which can be within the normal market and we’re taking a look at these as we speak and that course of will proceed.

“Proper now, that is the place we’re. We’re wanting extra at what’s already within the market by the use of options versus one which’s stand-alone.”

Like all skilled sports activities, the CFL has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Final week, Ambrosie advised season-ticket holders the league’s best-case state of affairs is beginning an abbreviated season in September, however reiterated a cancelled marketing campaign additionally stays a particular risk.

The CFL can be inspecting the potential of enjoying video games with out followers within the stands. It is actually a financially difficult prospect given franchises all rely closely upon gate receipts for his or her backside strains.

Shortened season viable with out followers?

Through the pandemic, Ambrosie mentioned CFL golf equipment have all incurred bills — paying low season participant bonuses, coaches, soccer operations and administration employees and normal workplace overhead — with out the advantage of incoming revenues. That is prompted ideas whether or not an abbreviated 2020 season could be viable with out spectators within the stands.

“I might say underneath even of the perfect of situations, it may be financially difficult,” Ambrosie said. “How we set ourselves up for 2021 and past is likely to be a motivator to be extra inclined to struggling some ache in 2020.

“But if all you’re doing is suffering pain in 2020 and then acknowledging you’ve got more pain to come, that’s not a very compelling business argument. That [expense] is the nature of this beast but you don’t have to look far to see challenging circumstances … this is causing tremendous pressure everywhere.”

WATCH | CBC Sports activities’ Devin Heroux on CFL’s plan to restart season:

The shortened season may run till December and the league is transferring away from its conventional Gray Cup Competition format. 1:59

Ambrosie mentioned the league plans this week to debate when all groups can reopen their amenities.

The league ordered its groups in March to shut amenities to gamers as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, the Ontario authorities gave CFL golf equipment within the province the go-ahead to reopen their amenities.

That may enable gamers, coaches and administration with the Toronto Argonauts, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Ottawa Redblacks again into their respective buildings as long as strict health-and-safety pointers stay in place.

NFL group amenities had been permitted to start reopening final week, once more with the caveat they meet sure security standards.

“We’ll be discussing that this week,” Ambrosie said. “We need to be very cautious and a part of the method is you must make certain you are able to do it proper … you must not solely have an excellent plan however be capable of execute in opposition to that plan.

“That is one of many issues we’re speaking about.”

WATCH | League ‘very a lot in jeopardy,’ CFL commissioner tells Parliament:

Testifying earlier than the Home of Commons standing committee on finance on Thursday, CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie acknowledged the league may wish as much as $150 million from the federal authorities if their season is worn out as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. 4:47

Ambrosie additionally divulged final week a change to the CFL’s 2020 Gray Cup plans. Regina was scheduled to host this 12 months’s sport, however as a substitute has been awarded the 2022 contest with Hamilton remaining on board to host in 2021.

Within the occasion of an abbreviated season the place CFL groups play of their dwelling stadiums, the Gray Cup finalist with the perfect regular-season document would host the CFL championship sport.

However there are questions surrounding whether or not that mannequin would work if the CFL adopted the hub-city strategy. That is the place groups would collect in a single or two host cities.

Greg Dick, the CFL’s chief monetary officer, final week advised league podcast The Waggle that in a hub-city setup, the win-and-host Gray Cup mannequin won’t apply. On Tuesday, Ambrosie reiterated the league continues to look at hub cities however was a lot much less definitive on a possible Gray Cup format underneath that state of affairs.

“Simply too early to succeed in any conclusions,” Ambrosie said. “We do not know proper now what is going on to occur.

“We have some signals for sure, certain cities have been more advanced in their prognostications about what they will allow … right now there’s a lot more speculation in the market than absolute bedrock facts.”

Southern Ontario a possible hub web site?

Dick additionally instructed that with the CFL hoping to start out its season in September, a logical drop-dead date for the league would are available August. However once more, Ambrosie was a lot much less emphatic.

“My framing on this has remained consistent,” he mentioned. “I believe it is when we’ve got all the knowledge we’d like.

“So it isn’t a lot a calendar subject as it’s an data subject … the discussions are ongoing.”

Regina, Winnipeg and Edmonton have been talked about as viable CFL hub cities. Ambrosie reiterated discussions proceed, however added southern Ontario has advantage as a possible web site.

“You’ve gotten two amenities inside driving distance, BMO Area and Tim Hortons Area,” he said. “You’ve gotten coaching amenities in London [Western University], Guelph, Waterloo, Laurier, McMaster, U of T and York.

“You start to look at that and think, ‘Well, that’s interesting,’ by way of facilities that could be used. But again, we’re just looking at everything and not reaching any decisions.”

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