A league source said Monday that Ottawa and the provinces are both looking for additional certainty from the CFL as they consider its latest financial ask. New CFL balls are photographed at the Winnipeg Blue Bombers stadium in Winnipeg Thursday, May 24, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Sources: CFL discussing $30-million, interest-free loan with federal government

Time is of the essence if there’s is any chance of starting a season in September

The CFL is making a last-ditch effort at securing funding from the federal government.

Two sources with knowledge of the situation said Monday the league is now talking with the government about a $30-million, interest-free loan. The league feels it needs financial support from Ottawa to stage an abbreviated 2020 season during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sources said the newest request came after communication between the federal government and unspecified CFL owners. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because neither the league nor federal officials have publicly divulged potential funding details.

The $30-million request is a reduction from the $44-million amended request the league presented last month. In April, the CFL approached the federal government for up to $150 million in assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie has stated the earliest an abbreviated season could begin is early next month. But he’s also stated a cancelled campaign remains a possibility.

The CFL didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

READ MORE: CFL, CFL Players’ Association extend CBA amendment talks deadline

The $30-million request comes after the league had exhausted specified loan discussions with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC), both crown corporations.

But sources had told The Canadian Press the BDC was not a funding option because the bank and the league couldn’t agree on loan terms.

That left the CFL to approach its primary financial institution to examine the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP), with assistance from EDC.

Again, though, the CFL couldn’t come to an agreement on terms.

So now, any CFL-specific assistance will ultimately be decided by the federal government. A specified repayment plan still needs to be finalized and Ottawa wants to know what health-and-safety protocols the league would implement in order to ensure wellness during a shortened season.

Previously, Heritage Canada was attempting to handle the CFL’s requests in conjunction with the provinces. But with the league needing an answer in the next couple of weeks, other opportunities had to be examined.

The CFL continues to meet with the CFL Players’ Association about amending the current collective bargaining agreement to allow for an abbreviated season. The league originally set July 24 as the deadline for CBA amendments, an extension of the deal past its 2021 expiry, federal funding and health-and-safety protocols.

That deadline came and went without an agreement. But while the CFL has extended the cutoff date, it hasn’t publicly announced a new one.

Time is of the essence if there’s is any chance of starting a season in September in Winnipeg, the league’s tentative hub city.

The CFL says it needs financial assistance to hold a shortened season. Ambrosie has said the league collectively lost upwards of $20 million last season and its nine teams have had little to no opportunity to generate revenue due to the pandemic.

The CFL is a gate-driven league, with ticket sales being the primary source of revenue for all franchises.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s CFL team drops ‘Eskimos’ name, will begin search for new name

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CFLCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Mission asks public for feedback on proposed Tree Management Bylaw

Currently, tree removal and cutting can take place without a permit

UFV to launch Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Abbotsford

Online event on Sept. 24 features keynote speaker Bob Rae and Steven Point

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in Mission RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving RCMP holding cell, police say; family has doubts

Two employees test positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution

Not outbreak, infected staff had no direct contact with inmates, Correctional Service Canada says

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Altercation with gunfire in Lower Mainland lands two in hospital

Quiet area of Langley was awoken at 5 a.m. Friday morning to a fight involving gun shots

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

PHOTOS: One injured in shooting on South Surrey-Langley border

Shots reported near 194 Street and 34 Avenue, burned-out vehicle found in 18100-block of 12 Avenue

Report raises questions about COVID outbreak that killed 25 seniors at Langley Lodge

CEO defends leaked document that’s igniting queries about BC’s most deadly COVID outbreak

PHOTO: RCMP escort beaver across busy Chilliwack road

Motorists had to exercise patience as the slow-moving creature crossed several lanes of traffic

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

Most Read