Ottawa Redblacks president Mark Goudie shared the CFL has a “workable” plan on the go with regards to a possible shortened CFL season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Goudie acknowledged the public and private frustration of players and fans regarding the lack of communication from the league.
“It’s been quiet but there is a lot of work to do,” Goudie explained on TSN 1200 radio in Ottawa. “The CFL is getting to a good place where they will have a plan that’s workable, whether it going to be possible, not sure.”
The logistics of a 2020 season are extremely complex and involve approvals from federal and provincial governments, the creation of stringent protocols, and a new agreement with the CFLPA. The costs associated, coupled with lost revenue means one critical element is needed: funding.
“If you are going to a hub city model, there is going to be a financial hole. The challenge was figure out what that looks like,” Goudie said.
”You’re stuck in the sand if you don’t play this year, there is a cost to the league and a cost to all of the teams in that. Is there a scenario that, from a financial perspective, makes it worthwhile to play football? That will require funding from some source.”
The CFL has appealed to the federal government for up to $150 million in coronavirus relief funding but received a tepid response. It has recently pivoted to lobbying the support of provincial governments and looking to adapt existing government programs to its benefit, while still hoping for some government funds. That is essential according to Goudie.
“I have a hard time seeing a scenario that if there isn’t government money that’s a part of the package, and that could come in many forms, but if there isn’t some sort of aid to make that make sense, that we can pay our players and bring them back to their teams, I think it’s a very difficult equation to solve,” Goudie said.
Despite the financial uncertainty and silence from the league, Goudie’s optimism for a season has risen. He states the chances for CFL games in 2020 changes hourly, but the odds have for sure gone way up in the last month. The key piece, however, comes down to the league and players coming together to form a unified front, which has yet to occur.
“It’s not going to happen unless that happens. You can see the plan coming together,” Goudie said.
“If we can get back playing football in the fall and award a Grey Cup, that’s going to have an important positive benefit for the economy of Canada in terms of public confidence.”
The league and players need to find a true partnership for any type of season this year.