CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie records tone-deaf video for Finnish football league

Screengrab courtesy: CFL

It’s nice to know that Randy Ambrosie cares about the welfare of at least one professional football league, even if it isn’t the CFL.


SAJL Finland posted a video to its Instagram page on Friday morning featuring the current CFL commissioner wishing its teams a successful 2020 season.

“With the Maple League resuming play on July 30, I send my best wishes to the Wolverines and the Crocodiles as they prepare for the kick-off of the season,” Ambrosie says.

“We are excited to see Finland’s incredible players return to the field. Earlier this year, two players from the Wolverines took part in the CFL global combine in Helsinki and earned invitations to the CFL combine in Canada. We look forward to welcoming them and more Finnish players to play in the CFL when we, too, return to the field.”

Growing the sport of football globally is a venture that Ambrosie cares a great deal about. While his CFL 2.0 initiative remains a disaster from a financial standpoint, there is value in building international relationships with fellow professional leagues.

With that said, timing is everything. Recording this video while approximately 800 CFL players sit at home — without pay, of course — was inexplicably tone-deaf.

The CFL originally set a self-imposed deadline for the 2020 season on July 23, but the league failed to meet with the players on that day. The ‘drop-dead date’ was delayed 24 hours, but the CFL and CFLPA remained far apart in negotiations.

The deadline was further postponed until July 31, though no official update is expected today. The league has communicated little over the past weeks, which has caused some players to speak out in frustration.

The CFL has long-since fought the perception that it is a semi-professional league that fails to pay its players a reasonable wage. Recently, Montreal Alouettes’ starting quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. revealed that he has been delivering food on Uber Eats to support his family. The passer has missed six game cheques without any official word from his employer regarding whether or not the 2020 season will proceed.

Per sources, the league has not engaged in any substantial meetings regarding pressing matters with its players for the past seven days. That’s a waste of a week while players and their families struggle to make ends meet amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CFL and commissioner have failed its players and fans regarding a possible 2020 season. This video is a slap in the face to those who play the games and those who support the league in the form of tickets sales and television viewership.

Wishing another league well while your own falls apart is like trimming your neighbour’s hedges while your house is on fire. It’s time to put away the pruning sheers and pickup a hose, Mr. Ambrosie. Time is running out — if it hasn’t already.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.