It would be ‘alarming’ if CFL relief funds went to Americans living in the United States: MP Peter Fragiskatos

Liberal Member of Parliament Peter Fragiskatos has a way to help the CFL, but he doesn’t want American players living in the United States to receive government money.

TSN reporter Rick Westhead spoke with Fragiskatos who stated it would be alarming if emergency relief was used to pay American football players living in the United States.

“The supports announced by the government are for the benefit of Canadians and the country,” Fragiskatos said.

“The CFL has to be crystal clear about how funding would be used and what its approach would be in terms of paying back the money.”

Fragiskatos was one of the members of the standing committee on finance who heard commissioner Randy Ambrosie’s plea for COVID-19 financial aid. The London North Centre MP admitted he was a CFL fan, converted from a Toronto Argonauts supporter to backing the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. However, Fragiskatos represents his constituents above all.

“Ultimately, we’re accountable to the citizen, to the taxpayer,” Fragiskatos said.

Ambrosie asked for $30 million in working capital to maintain operations through the crisis and estimated the league could need as much as an additional $120 million over the next two years — if the most negative scenarios, all of them, come true. That equals $150 million in total.

“If banks won’t support the CFL, why should the federal government support the CFL? Fragiskatos asked.

“It’s not a question of whether banks would support us. The issue is that you’re now taking a $20 million dollar loss and you’re almost certainly making that loss bigger in future years,” Ambrosie responded.

“Our challenge is that we’ve got a situation that is going to see our losses grow as a result of not being able to play games, and if you add traditional consumer debt to our financial statements, all you’re going to do is bloat our losses, not make our losses reduce.”

If there is no season in 2020, it’s estimated the CFL could lose approximately $100 million. Even still Fragiskatos is only open to discussing a loan for the CFL and its teams but not a bailout.