Alouettes president Mario Cecchini: ‘odds exceedingly slim there will be a season’

Photo courtesy: Montreal Alouettes

If Montreal Alouettes president Mario Cecchini was a betting man his money would be wagered against games being played in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If there is no financial assistance, we will go back to the drawing board. But this help is what we privilege. The odds become exceedingly slim that there will be a season,” Cecchini told RDS.

Cecchini is less than seven months into his tenure with Quebec’s CFL franchise and most of the time has been spent trying to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

“It’s not the expected start, neither for me nor for Danny [Maciocia] and the owners of course. It’s chaotic since March. This is not the ideal scenario for year one, but we are like everyone else, we comply with the measures and most important is everyone’s health,” Cecchini said.

“We adjusted well over time, but we have to admit that no one had a game plan for that, it’s new. There are a lot of emotions in there and frustration, people want to know what’s going on and we also want to know what’s going on in terms of the future.”

The league’s presidents meet between two and four times each week Cecchini noted. Those sessions keep everyone informed on the latest happenings with regards to a potential season this year. Top on the list is the financial aid request from the Canadian government, the league has asked for approximately $40 million to use for operating and player costs.

“We are in talks with the government and we have been agreeing on answers since last week. Mr. [Steven] Guilbeault confirmed for his part that we are still in talks. It’s very hard to detect at the moment. This rumor seems to be supported by government sources,” Cecchini said.

“We follow the government, it is not easy. The government also has other things to deal with at this time. There are a lot of elements that are not yet fully attached, but we remain confident. As long as we continue to talk, the important thing is that the file is not closed, and as long as it is not closed, there is hope. 

It’s currently a catch-22 between the CFL and feds. The league wants an assurance of financial backing prior to discussing exact compensation with the players, however, the government wants a guarantee the season will actually go ahead if the money is allotted.

Eventually one side is going to make a decision with the runway for a season running shorter by the day.