Riders’ president Craig Reynolds: ‘we all know that we need to be playing football in 2021’

Screenshot courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ president Craig Reynolds has been dealing with disappointment since the 2020 CFL season was cancelled.

He’s had to trim the Riders’ business and football operations departments significantly and navigate the franchise through the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The day after we announced the cancellation of the season, we had an all-staff meeting and I had to talk to our entire staff about that decision and the disappointment everyone in the organization felt about it. I also had to let the organization know that we were going to have work-force adjustments,” Reynolds told Regina Leader-Post reporter Murray McCormick.

“When we had to relay those messages, that was excruciatingly difficult to do so. (Sept. 30) was a difficult day, telling them that they weren’t going to be part of this moving forward. It was especially tough considering it wasn’t the fault of anyone other than the pandemic that we’re all dealing with.”

The CFL voted to cancel its 2020 season on Monday, August 17 after the Canadian government denied the league a $30 million interest-free loan. Reynolds stated the Riders will lose in the range of $10 million this year due financial ramifications from the coronavirus, even after the permanent and temporary layoffs.

Focus has been shifted to next year and working to ensure football is played. Reynolds knows it is paramount for the three-down league to be on the field. There are multiple return-to-play models being looked at as options for the CFL and its member franchises.

“There is an incredible commitment to do that and we all know that we need to be playing football in 2021. Do we need to make some changes to our business model?” Reynolds questioned.

“Yes, and we’re doing that work right now. We’re all committed to doing that and seeing the other side of this pandemic. That includes building a stronger CFL coming out of this pandemic.”