The CFL will not go forward with a 2020 season after failing to secure financial aid from the Canadian federal government.
Commissioner Randy Ambrosie made the announcement Monday stating that the league will instead focus on the 2021 season and beyond rather than trying to play a shortened season.
“Our league governors decided today it is in the best long-term interests of the CFL to concentrate on the future,” Ambrosie said in a statment.
“We are absolutely committed to the future of our league and pursuing our vision of a bigger, stronger, more global CFL.”
The league was looking to get a $30-million, interest-free loan from Ottawa which they made a formal request for on Aug. 3 in order to hold an abbreviated 2020 season during the COVID-19 pandemic. But on Sunday, The Canadian Press reported that the plan had fallen through after an agreement with the government could not be reached.
Over the past few weeks, a shortened season was being planned to be played with Winnipeg being chosen as the hub city with the league going with a “bubble” concept in order to ensure the safety of players and staff involved. This would only be possible with financial support from the federal government after coming to an agreement with the CFLPA and public health authorities.
“Even with additional support, our owners and community-held teams would have had to endure significant financial losses to play in 2020,” Ambrosie said.
“Without it, the losses would be so large that they would really hamper our ability to bounce back strongly next year and beyond. The most important thing is the future of our league.”
The CFL initially approached the federal government in April looking for up to $150 million in assistance due to the pandemic. Last month, the league ruled out a loan from the Business Development Bank of Canada because it felt the interest rate was too high for the league.
“That kind of arrangement would hamper our recovery more than bolster it. On two occasions, in June and again at the beginning of August, the government reached out to us with new indications they might step up and help in a more meaningful way. But at the end of the day, the help we needed to play this year never materialized,” he said.
“This outcome after months of discussions with government officials is disappointing. But we’re focused now on the long-term future and we will continue to work with the federal and provincial governments in that context.”
–With files from The Canadian Press