The Saskatchewan Roughriders have officially joined the competition to host the CFL amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe has stated he has a very large appetite for a CFL hub in the prairies. The noted Roughriders fan wants the green and white playing host to the three-down league for a shortened season in 2020.
According to CJME radio reporter Britton Gray: Saskatchewan will commit $3 million as a part of the Saskatchewan Roughriders bid to be a hub city in 2020 according to Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Gene Makowsky.
“The Saskatchewan Roughriders have submitted a competitive bid for consideration to be a hub city if the CFL plays the 2020 season,” the Riders said in a statement released by the club to 620 CKRM radio in Regina.
“We are proud of the package that we put together with help from public health, our provincial government, the City of Regina and the Regina Hotel Association and for the potential economic activity a winning bid could bring to our province and to Regina.”
“We are excited about the opportunity of potentially being a hub city, but whether we win the bid or not we support the CFL and are hopeful that we can get back on the field and play football in 2020.”
As of July 19, Saskatchewan had 943 total coronavirus cases, the second least of any province which has CFL teams inside its borders. Manitoba, who also submitted a formal proposal, is the lowest at 343. Regina mayor Michael Fougere would offer Mosaic Stadium and Leibel Field free of charge to the CFL if the league chooses Regina to be the hub city.
“(Mosaic Stadium) is the best stadium in Canada. The support by the partners will be extremely competitive and will work well. We’re also the heart of the CFL and our hotels are fantastic,” Fougere told the Regina Leader-Post
“Assuming that most players will be in a so-called bubble, but they would still be doing some community activities in the city. It’s a beautiful city and we have lots of advantages. The partners have put together a really competitive package which will hopefully get us this.”
Commissioner Randy Ambrosie stated the earliest the CFL might return to play is September due to COVID-19. The league office sent the CFL Players’ Association a guiding principals statement which shares thoughts on what it could take for an abbreviated 2020 schedule. If the two sides form an agreement, choosing a hub would be the next logical step.
The CFL presented a scenario for a potential six-game 2020 season which would see players self-isolate in quaratine for up to 105 days or 15 weeks in a hub concept for one-third of their base salary and performance bonuses. However, it was tied to an acceptable level of government financial support or assistance.