Final decision on CFL season unlikely to come by Friday deadline

The CFL had previously marked Friday as the deadline to reach a decision on a 2020 season, but reports now indicate that is unlikely to happen.

TSN’s Farhan Lalji reports that the league and the CFL Players’ Association are in a good position ahead of Friday to agree to the terms for a shortened hub city season.

“Both sides are working around the clock and there is a lot of optimism on both sides that they are going to find a way to find some common ground here and agree to an amended CBA just for the 2020 season,” Lalji said.

Despite the optimism, an agreement would only be a small component in the final decision.

“That doesn’t necesarily mean we are going to have a CFL schedule because you also have a vote that has to happen around that CBA for both sides and all of it is tentative based on whether or not they get funding from the federal government,” Lalji said.

The federal government has yet to confirm their support for the project and some are frustrated. Montreal Alouettes tackle Tony Washington, who had been vocal about the league’s previous offers, put the onus on the Trudeau government in a telling tweet Thursday.

“Everybody check this out. It’s not on the CFL or PA…so stop it with the rumors…,” he wrote. “Nothing moves without the federal government funding us what we need… period! If you have any questions on whether the CFL will play, call parliament… We ready for a deal to play, gov is not!”

What form government funding could take is still unknown, but those in the know have suggested that it’s more likely to be a loan than a grant.

“Most likely it could come in the form of a loan from something like the Business Development Bank of Canada, which is in the business of high risk loans that could come at a low interest rate and be repaid over a number of years,” Dave Naylor reported.

The league still believes an agreement with the players is key to gaining government support. They plan to stay firm on Friday’s deadline with the PA, but the stamp of official approval may come later.

“In terms of a final decision on a CFL season, that may not happen until closer to the end of July,” Lalji said.

One thing does remain clear though, according to Naylor.

“If the federal government does respond, at any point, with a no,” Naylor said, “it is a virtual certainty there will not be a 2020 CFL season.”