TORONTO — The CFL’s board of governors will meet on Monday to determine the fate of the 2020 season after the league was unable to secure financial aid from the federal government.
The CFL applied to Ottawa for a $30 million interest-free loan Aug. 3 to run an abbreviated 2020 season during the COVID-19 pandemic. But two sources close to the situation said on Sunday night the plan fell through when aid could not be delivered to the league on the terms it was seeking.
The sources were granted anonymity because neither the CFL nor the federal government had released details of the loan request.
It was not the first time that the CFL was unable to reach a government aid agreement. Last month, the league ruled out a loan from the Business Development Bank of Canada because it felt the interest rate was too high.
The $30 million interest-free loan request was essentially seen as the league’s latest effort to secure government support for an abbreviated 20 season.
The CFL’s board of governors will meet Monday to determine its next course of action. However, it’s hard to see the league moving forward with a shortened season given the time of year and repeatedly declaring that government help was needed to stage an abbreviated campaign.
Earlier, a CFL source told The Canadian Press that even with an abbreviated season, the league would lose more than $50 million, compared to between $60 million and $80 million without football at all.
The CFL sent Ottawa its $30 million loan request on Aug. 3. This was a reduction from the $44 million amended request it submitted last month.
The CFL first approached the federal government in April for assistance of up to $150 million due to the pandemic.
Until Friday, the CFL’s loan request rested firmly in the hands of the Public Health Agency of Canada, which was in talks with the league and Manitoba health officials regarding return safety plans. in the CFL game. The league had previously chosen Winnipeg as an interim hub city for a shortened season.
On Friday, Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, reiterated that he was encouraged by the CFL’s health and safety protocols. However, he could not say when approval of the plan might come.
This painted a rather gloomy picture for the CFL, as a continued delay further diminishes the chances of playing a season.
Players are expected to meet quarantine requirements and travel to Winnipeg for training camps before the start of a six-game season. With a three-week playoff, the league is running out of time if it hopes to complete a season in early December.
But government money isn’t the only hurdle the league faces. He must also agree with the CFL Players Association on a modified collective agreement, which has not yet happened.
The CFL regular season was scheduled to start on June 11. But many provincial governments had said there would be no sports with large crowds over the summer due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
It dealt a serious blow to the CFL, a gate-focused league that relies heavily on ticket sales to operate.
Commissioner Randy Ambrosie had said the earliest the start of an abbreviated season was September, but added that a canceled campaign remained a possibility.