“We are absolutely committed to 2021, to the future of our league and the pursuit of our vision of a bigger, stronger and more global CFL.
Season ticket holders can expect to receive news from their clubs soon on how they can apply their deposits to next season or other offers.
And the CFL will have a lot to say in the days to come next season, including the 2021 Gray Cup in Hamilton, which Ambrosie says will be the biggest “reunion” in Canadian sporting history.
He added that the league and its teams are working together on a new initiative that will allow fans to show their pride in the CFL’s rich history while pledging their support for the future, which will be unveiled in the coming years. days.
The league lost its main source of revenue – the fans in the stands – when the COVID-19 pandemic prevented large gatherings.
Unlike the US-based leagues that can rely on television or streaming to provide the lion’s share of their revenue, the CFL relies heavily on its live portal.
Still, he’s spent the last few weeks working on a plan to kick off a shortened season in September.
It was to be played in one location – Winnipeg had been chosen as the central city – with players living in a protected “bubble” comprising the playing stadium, training grounds and hotels.
But the league has also consistently said the plan will require significant support from the federal government, approval from public health authorities and a new collective agreement with the Canadian Football League Players Association.
The league and the union worked together to reach a deal that would see the players return to the field this year. Manitoba public health officials had officially approved the safe return-to-play plan and federal officials publicly commended it. The league and its governors have worked tirelessly to explore options for enabling the game in 2020. However, despite months of discussions, the government ultimately declined the CFL’s call for financial support.
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“Even with the extra support, our owners and community teams would have had to suffer significant financial losses to play in 2020,” Ambrosie said.
“Without it, the losses would be so great that they would really hurt our ability to rebound strongly next year and beyond. The most important is the future of our league. ”
The federal government sometimes suggested that the CFL make a commercial loan that would be partially backed by Ottawa, but it was short-term and very costly in terms of interest and fees, Ambrosie said.
“This kind of arrangement would hamper our recovery more than strengthen it. Twice, in June and again in early August, the government gave us new indications that it could step in and help in a more meaningful way. But at the end of the day, the help we needed to play this year never came to fruition, ”he said.
“This result after months of discussions with government officials is disappointing. But we are now focused on the long term future and will continue to work with the federal and provincial governments in this context.
The league had very positive discussions with the Canadian Football League Players’ Association and the two parties were close to finalizing a tentative agreement which, if ratified, would have satisfied another requirement for the game resumes this year.
“We look forward to strengthening our relationship with our players as we look to the future. We have to use this time to build a bigger, better and stronger CFL and I’m confident we can do it, ”said Ambrosie.
The commissioner acknowledged that the wait has been difficult for the players and their families, as well as the coaches, football staff and office staff of the league.
“We know people want certainty,” he said. “But we felt that we owed it to our fans and our players to do whatever we could to find a way to play this year if we could safely and in a responsible and doable way, as well as careful and safe. .
Ambrosie thanked CFL fans, players and partners for their continued commitment to the league.
“The support, understanding and patience have been exceptional. Our players clung to it despite the hardship imposed on them and their families by a postponed season. Our fans keep asking how they can help. And our partners, especially our friends at Bell Media, have been amazing to us, ”he said.
“I want to thank them all. I also want to express our gratitude to all of our fellow Canadians, as their efforts have flattened the pandemic curve as a 2020 season seemed feasible. Unfortunately, not all the necessary pieces came together, ”added Ambrosie.
“Now is the time to focus on 2021 and beyond. We will be back. And we’ll use that time to make sure the CFL comes back stronger than ever.