CFL’s federal funding request for shorter season denied, say sources

Money from the federal government is not coming to the CFL this season, according to three sources with knowledge of the deal.

For the past two weeks, the Canadian Football League and Ottawa have been in talks to approve a $30-million, interest-free loan.

The league has maintained it requires government funding to stage a shortened season in Winnipeg, the chosen hub city.

Read more: Njoo positive about talks with CFL but cannot provide timeline for decision

The CFL’s board of governors will meet on Monday to decide if the lack of secure federal funding will end 2020 season hopes.

The CFL sent Ottawa its $30-million loan request Aug. 3. It was a reduction from the $44-million amended requisition it presented last month.

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The CFL first approached the government in April for up to $150 million in assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the deal’s biggest factors included approval from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, Dr. Howard Njoo, told the Canadian Press last week he was encouraged about the CFL’s health and safety protocols.

“From my perspective, from a public-health perspective, we’re quite encouraged.

“But there are certainly other elements, I’d say what we call the overall Government of Canada decision-making process, so I can’t give you a timeline in terms of the whole process.”

Read more: CFL no longer talking to Business Development Bank of Canada, sources say

Other considerations include that the CFL must reach an agreement with the CFL Player’s Association on an amended collective bargaining agreement, which has not happened.

The CFL must also finalize a deal with TSN, its broadcast partner.

The $30-million, interest-free loan request is essentially the league’s last-ditch effort to secure government support for an abbreviated 2020 season.

If CFL games are staged this year, players would be required to isolate for 14 days at home before heading to Winnipeg, which was chosen as the hub city for the league this year.

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Upon their arrival in the Manitoba capital, players would self-isolate for another seven days.

A shortened campaign would see CFL teams play six regular-season games apiece —  a third of a traditional campaign. The general sentiment that is the league would adopt a one-division setup rather than the traditional East-West format.

Eight of nine teams would make the playoffs. The last two squads would meet in the Grey Cup game, which would be played in Winnipeg.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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