British Columbia premier John Horgan wants to be able to watch the B.C. Lions take the field in 2020.
However, any CFL action in his province would have to be safe and follow best medical practices amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m an enormous CFL, a big backer of the B.C. Lions, they’ve been in contact with me since the advent of the pandemic and looking at what the season would look like,” Horgan said on Wednesday.
“I know that they’re looking at perhaps a later in the fall season of CFL play and that’ll of course depend on whether we believe that’s safe to proceed.”
Training camps and the start of a possible 2020 campaign has been put on hold due to COVID-19. The earliest the CFL might return to play – for a shortened but meaningful season – is September due to the virus.
“Football of course involves a lot of people on both sides of the line, not just on the field but on the sidelines, so those are issues that will need to be worked out,” Horgan said.
“Dr. [Bonnie] Henry is at the centre of that practically trying to find ways for activity to take place, not finding ways for activity to be shutdown. But at the centre of our activities is focusing on public health and wellness.”
Commissioner Randy Ambrosie made a presentation to the standing committee on finance asking for $30 million in working capital to keep operating and an additional $120 million over the next two years — if the most negative scenarios, all of them, come true. Although, Horgan has yet to hear from the league or Lions about potential financial aid.
“There’s no shortage of requests from every sector for assistance at this very challenging time for all of us. I’m always available to talk to the CFL, particularly the Lions and the CFL Players’ Association about how I can be helpful, but there’s been no formal request at this time,” Horgan said.
If there is no season in 2020, it’s estimated the CFL could lose approximately $100 million. Ambrosie has revealed collectively CFL teams lose between $10 and $20 million dollars a season. The CFL is considering new business model approaches for the present and future to improve longterm viability.
“I’d love to see the Lions have a season this year,” Horgan said. “We were talking about getting in line to host the Grey Cup a couple years down the road and I’d like to get those discussions started as well.”