TSN reporter Dave Naylor took a run at predicting what might happen on Monday, June 14 when the board of governors are scheduled vote on the proposed August 5 start to the 2021 season.
Naylor was asked on TSN 1200 radio in Ottawa if there is any indication whatsoever that the vote will be anything but a unanimous decision to go ahead.
“I don’t think so. Look, it’s only nine teams so it would be pretty easy to do a straw poll if you were the commissioner of the league and figure out whether you have the votes or not,” Naylor said.
“I wonder if they would even go ahead and schedule a vote if they didn’t know it was going to be a yes. I’m not going to draw any conclusions until we get to the end of Monday and see that we get this. We’ve had a few false starts along the way, so at this point I’m a little cautious.”
In late April, the CFL delayed its start date with a 14-game schedule targeted to kick-off on August 5, culminating in a currently planned December 12 Grey Cup. For the timeline to be met, the league requires ‘a significant number of fans’ to be allowed in stadiums by municipal, provincial, and federal governments.
“If there is a yes vote on Monday for the CFL to go ahead and start on August 5, immediately they’re going to release the schedule. They’re all going to lose money, that is an absolute certainty for the 2021 CFL season,” Naylor said.
“The news about the seven teams [in Ontario] making the proposal for open stands and other good news across the country, to me, makes it seem very likely we’re going to get a yes vote, but that’s still a bit of a mystery.”
The league and players’ union began meetings during the second week of February with a focus on playing football this year. The two sides have submitted return to play health and safety plans to various levels of government in Canada and are working to finalize the details in hopes of getting the final stamp from the nation’s capital.
After the Canadian government refused to provide a $30 million interest-free loan a year ago, the board of governors voted to cancel the 2020 season. The CFL reportedly lost between $60 and $80 million in 2020 and are set to lose millions more if any kind of season is played in 2021.