According to the expert, CFL’s request for a state loan “Preaching from the joy of Mary”


An associate professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management calls the CFL application for financial assistance from the Canadian government, “Hello Mary.”

CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosi said Tuesday that the league is demanding up to $ 150 million from Ottawa due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal included $ 30 million immediately, additional funds if a high-rated campaign is being conducted, and potential of $ 120 million if the league was forced to cancel the entire 2020 season.

But Professor Richard Powers believes that it is definitely a long time ago that CFL will receive what he asks.

“In terms of football, this is a Hail Mary pass, and you know how often Hail Mary goes through work,” he said. “I can understand by exploring different options, but what struck me was the amount of money they asked.

“In my opinion, $ 150 million is ridiculous. Without any transparency, we have no idea what this money will be spent on. Assuming there will be a long schedule, why do they need so much? This is a question that I will have. ” “

Another question is whether the money will go only to the league and its teams, or will they be shared with players, most of whom will not receive a reward if not a single game is played. CFL pledged to pay players any subscription or inter-season bonuses

“This is something that is unclear without any transparency,” Powers said. “Does the league act on behalf of the teams?

“Is this part of the wage subsidy to which they would be entitled, like any other employee?” At the moment, everything is unclear. ”

“This is handout”

CFL was not disappointed in the 2020 season, but delayed the start of training camps, which were supposed to open next month. It also pushed the start of the regular season – which was due to start on June 11 – until the beginning of July, the earliest.

But since many provincial governments stated that there would not be a large crowd of sporting events this summer, Ambrozi admitted: “No decisions have been made, but this indicates early September, as early as possible.”

Ambrosia did not name the CFL financial assistance request handout. He said the league wants to be accountable to taxpayers and will pay Canadians “through community programs, tourism promotion, the gray cup, our digital channels. Anything to repay the government, for which we would be ready. “

But Powers did not buy it.

“This is not a loan, this is a handout,” he said.

Canadian Football League Commissioner Randy Ambrosi says the league and the Gray Cup are important components of Canadian culture. (Todd King / Canadian Press)

And since many Canadians do not work and the abundance of enterprises is closed, Powers does not see much public sympathy not only for CFL, but also for any professional sports entity.

“No one gets rich playing CFL, but no one got rich right now,” he said. “I don’t think there will be much sympathy for handouts when not only other people, but also other sports organizations, amateur sports across the country, are in even worse shape. Most depend on contributions, and without a season there are no fees, no income. “

A piece of Canadian fabric?

Powers can speak from experience. Powers, previously president of the Commonwealth Games in Canada, was formerly the director of Rugby Canada and the president of Ontario Rugby. He said Ontario’s rugby membership fees fell to nearly 50 percent, while Canada’s rugby ranged from 20 to 25 percent.

“These are big hits,” he said. “Recently I gave a couple of interviews about the hospitality industry … and bars, restaurants, theaters, and it will all be destroyed.

“Aren’t they so important to Canadian fabric?”

On Tuesday, Ambrosi referred to CFL’s rich history and its importance to Canadians as reasons for its long-term future.

“I think this is a reasonable argument,” Powers said. “But this is the same argument that the Stratford Festival may put forward … there are many other pieces of Canadian fabric that have not asked for support and are in an equally terrible situation.”

“Look at all the things that were canceled and they didn’t go to the government, saying:“ Listen, we must get compensation, because we won’t have that. ”

And Powers believes that the Canadian government has more pressing problems than financial assistance about the football league.

“I think it will be,“ Yes, we heard it, ”and it will be put on the back burner because it is not and will not, in my opinion, be a priority for the government right now,” he said. “CFL, I will say it again, is a league that has been supporting life support for several years.

“You don’t hear NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL ask for handouts. Other sports leagues have reserves … CFL is not in this position and was not, because he was on life support for many years.

“This is a professional league, they have other options. “These are amateur sports in Canada that are really staggering now due to a lack of membership fees.”



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