Sportsnet reporter Arash Madani: ‘It is not a 14-game slam dunk of a CFL season’

In a pandemic world, there are no sure things.

That’s how Sportsnet reporter Arash Madani feels about the prospects of a 2021 CFL season. Even though Madani would like to be out of lockdown in Ontario, nothing can be guaranteed while COVID-19 is still around.

“Teams are willing to lose some money, and have some fans in the building, but it is not a 14-game slam dunk of a season because if it was we’d have a schedule with it, and we don’t,” Madani said on 620 CKRM’s The SportsCage.

“A lot of these things are still up in the air, and they’re virus dependant, and they’re border dependant, and they’re health regulation dependant.”

The three-down league has targeted August 5 as a start date for a potential 14-game regular season with the Grey Cup being moved to December 12 in Hamilton. Most importantly, a ‘significant’ number of fans must be allowed in stadiums Week 1 in order to proceed with kick-off.

“What wasn’t messaged is all of this is still hope. They’re hoping to play 14 games, they’re hoping that this is going to happen, but really until mid-June, we won’t know,” Madani said.

“So this was smart messaging. I still think they’re going to play. I don’t know if they’re going to play 14 games, I don’t think the new Grey Cup date will change, I think that ultimately is going to remain in mid-December in Hamilton.”

“For a business that really has had next to no revenue for the last 18 months, now you’re telling fans, ‘Hey, come invest with us.’ You’re telling the business community, ‘Hey, please come invest with us.’ We’ll take whatever you’re willing to give us, we’ll work with you.”

“We don’t know what we have, but we’re going to have something, and whatever that something is will be a few dollars into the coffers of these teams’ balance sheets which they absolutely, desperately need right now.”

The league reportedly lost between $60 and $80 million last year and are set to lose millions more if any kind of season is played in 2021. The CFL’s return to play health and safety protocols must be approved by all provincial governments with teams inside its borders and at the federal level as well.

“The Ontario government where there are three franchises, the Quebec government where the Alouettes are, they cannot tell us what’s going on. We still don’t know what’s going on with the border. They may have hopes, they may be confident that things can happen, but a lot still has to happen,” Madani said.

“I think 14 games is still pie in the sky. They may not play 14. Could they play 12? Sure. Could they play 10? Yeah. Nine? Let’s do it. They’re going to do something this season, it’s just a matter of what, unless the world completely crumbles again.”

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