The CFL met with David Lemetti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, on Monday.
It’s the latest meeting the CFL has held in its quest to secure financial assistance from the federal government. Two weeks ago, commissioner Randy Ambrosie divulged the league has asked Ottawa for up to $150 million in assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league’s proposal involves three phases: $30 million now to manage the impact the novel coronavirus outbreak has had on league business; additional assistance for an abbreviated regular season; and up to another $120 million in the event of a lost 2020 campaign
The CFL hasn’t given up on staging a 2020 season but has postponed the start of training camps — which were to open this month. It has also pushed back the beginning of the regular season — which was to begin June 11 — to early July, at the earliest, although many provincial governments have said there will be no sports events with large crowds this summer.
Even Ambrosie has publicly suggested if the CFL were to have a season in 2020, it’s looking more like it won’t begin until September, at the earliest.
According to the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying Canada, the CFL met with Lametti and Nadia Kadri, special assistant (policy) for Justice Canada, on Monday. Lametti is the second cabinet minister the league has spoken to, the other being Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, on April 6.
The Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying Canada also said the CFL met Friday with Dan Vandal, a Liberal MP for Saint Boniface-Saint Vital.
The was the day after Ambrosie testified before a House of Commons standing committee on finance during a panel on arts, culture, sports and charitable organizations. During his testimony via video, Ambrosie said the league’s future was ”very much in jeopardy,” adding CFL teams collectively lost about $20 million last year.
During his testimony, Ambrosie admitted for the first time that the most likely scenario for the CFL is a cancelled 2020 season. Following his testimony, Ambrosie was criticized for not having league players involved in his presentation.
The CFL and CFL Players’ Association met twice last week to discuss potential contingency plans for the 2020 campaign. It was their first discussions in roughly two weeks after reaching an impasse regarding interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement.
The CFL and CFLPA must agree to any changes that are made to the current CBA.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2020.
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press