CFLPA President Solomon Elimimian asks fans to ‘remain optimistic,’ is encouraged by progress on 2021 season

Photo courtesy: CFLPA

Future Canadian Football Hall of Famer Solomon Elimimian joined The Rod Pedersen Show on Friday to talk about his recent retirement, but the hard-hitting linebacker couldn’t escape the question on everybody’s mind.

Will there be a 2021 CFL season?

The sitting CFLPA president doesn’t have an answer either, but says all stakeholders remain invested in that outcome.

“That’s a good question. Everybody wants to know. From our standpoint at the CFLPA, we are committed to having a safe, 18-game season,” Elimimian said. “I think what the commissioner said yesterday was very positive. They are also committed to having a full 18-game season.”

Randy Ambrosie broke his silence on Thursday, once again promising football will be played this upcoming season but remaining vague on what that might look like. The news followed the federal government’s release of its latest vaccination modeling which projected 14.5 million Canadians will receive the shot by the end of June.

Earlier this month, an anonymous source close to the league told the Edmonton Sun that a 2021 season might not be plausible, while TSN insider Dave Naylor stated early Friday that the league will not play if fans aren’t allowed in stadiums and could eye a Labour Day start.

Elimimian has heard the rumours but doesn’t give them much weight.

“I know there is a lot of reports out there and speculation, but as long as we are working towards that goal, good things will happen,” he said. “I’m a very optimistic person. I always believe that if you put your mind towards something, if you work together as a group, there are ways to accomplish that.”

There is already positive movement on that front. 3Down insider John Hodge reported that the CFL and CFLPA were set to begin their collaborative return-to-play meetings this week, and the leader of the union confirmed that progress is being made.

“Obviously there are hurdles. We have to meet certain requirements with the health and provincial officials and that’s something we are working on right now,” Elimimian explained. “Hopefully we can have a document on the return-to-play protocols safe and submitted by next week.”

Nevertheless, many CFL fans are beginning to panic about the league’s future after losing between $60 and $80 million to the cancelled 2020 season. It can be a struggle to see the light on the horizon, but Elimimian says a deep breath is needed.

“These are positive signs and I would just ask people to remain optimistic and be encouraged.”