CFL making last-ditch effort for $30 million, interest-free loan from the federal government

The CFL is now in discussions with the federal government to acquire a possible interest-free loan after exhausting all other options.

According to Canadian Press reporter Dan Ralph:

Two sources with knowledge of the situation said Monday the league is now talking with the government about a $30-million, interest-free loan. The league feels it needs financial support from Ottawa to stage an abbreviated 2020 season during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sources said the newest request came after communication between the federal government and unspecified CFL owners. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because neither the league nor federal officials have publicly divulged potential funding details.

The $30 million asking price is lower than the $42.5 million that the league had sought most recently after reducing its expectations from Randy Ambrosie’s initial request for up to $150 million at the beginning of the pandemic.

The league was seeking a loan through the Business Development Bank of Canada, but couldn’t come to terms due to high interests rates that might cripple the league and the need for provincial guarantors. They then pivoted to the Business Credit Availability Progam through Export Development Canada, but it now seems those negotiations have also reached an impasse.

Direct funding from the federal government appears to be the only option remaining but the two sides must still agree on a repayment plan and approve health protocols for a COVID-19 shortened 2020 season. The government had previously wanted the certainty of an amended collective bargaining agreement between the players and league before proceeding, but the CFL and CFL Players’ Association have not been able to agree on the key financial aspects of a deal without the guarantee of financial aid.

Time is ticking down on the CFL to make a decision on whether to play in 2020 and this appears to be a final Hail Mary to get teams on the field in Winnipeg.