Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault committed to working with CFL to support sustainable recovery

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault wanted to see the CFL play games this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie and the league had asked for a $30 million interest-free loan, but it was denied as the federal government pointed the CFL towards its existing coronavirus financial aid programs.

Guilbeault provided a statement to 3DownNation following the league officially deciding to focus on 2021 and its future.

“I am sorry to hear of the decision by the Canadian Football League to cancel their 2020 season. I understand this was a difficult decision to make, especially with regards to the League’s talented athletes, devoted staff and football fans across Canada.

Over the past few months, my colleagues and I, both federal and provincial, have had several conversations with Commissioner Randy Ambrosie and his team to try to find a solution for the CFL. Our government helped the CFL navigate through the existing COVID-19 Emergency Response programs that are helping tens of thousands of businesses across Canada with revenue and liquidity challenges during this time.

Although the League was able to benefit from some of these programs, its Board members ultimately made the decision not to pursue the upcoming season.

Football and sports are an important part of the life of many Canadians, allowing good-natured rivalries between teams to unite the country in a common passion for the game. We will continue to engage directly with the CFL and its teams to ensure they’re around for many years to come. Our government remains committed to work with businesses of all sizes across the country, including the CFL, to support strong, safe and sustainable recoveries.”

When it comes to the long-term financial stability of the league, the feds want it to live on and are open to doing a deep dive to understand what might be needed for the future. The CFL would have to open up its books and do a complete, transparent review with the Canadian government if it wants to pursue that possibility.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.