A football with the new CFL logo sits on a chair in Winnipeg, Friday, November 27, 2015. An MP with a long history with the CFL is hoping the league has called an audible in its approach to securing financial help from the federal government. Liberal MP Bob Bratina, who spent 20 years doing play-by-play on Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts radio broadcasts before entering politics, is questioning the CFL's strategy. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie lays out best-case scenario for 2020 season

Ambrosie also stated a cancelled 2020 season remains a possibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic

  • May. 20, 2020 12:00 a.m.

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie says the earliest the CFL can start the 2020 season is September, and there won’t be a “traditional” Grey Cup in Regina.

Ambrosie made the statement Wednesday during a virtual video conference with season-ticket holders.

Ambrosie also stated a cancelled 2020 season remains a possibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Please note that we are not announcing or promising a return this fall,” he said. “We are just letting our fans know this remains one of the remaining possible scenarios for 2020.

“A cancelled season is also possible. Again, it’s too soon to make a sure call at this point.”

The prospect of the CFL starting the season in September isn’t new as Ambrosie told The Canadian Press in April, “there’s a lot pointing to September as being a reasonable person’s view of when we might be able to resume.”

Last month, the CFL postponed the start of training camps — which were to open last week — and pushed back the June 11 start of the regular season to July, at the earliest.

Ambrosie also called upon the Canadian government for financial assistance.

The league asked for $30 million immediately, additional monies if the ’20 season began late and up to $120 million for the worst-case scenario — the cancellation of the entire campaign.

The CFL is also changing its ’20 Grey Cup plans.

Regina was scheduled to host this year’s game but instead has been awarded the 2022 contest.

Hamilton will remain as the 2021 Grey Cup host.

If there’s an abbreviated 2020 season, the Grey Cup finalist with the best regular-season record will host the CFL championship game. The contest could still be played in Regina if the Saskatchewan Roughriders were one of the finalists and the team with the better record.

“The pandemic has had a drastic effect on travel, tourism and the economy,” Ambrosie said. “It has become increasingly clear we will not be able to host a traditional Grey Cup and Grey Cup Festival, certainly not with the size and scope that has become customary.”

And if the CFL does hit the field starting in September, it will mean the cancellation of the Touchdown Atlantic game slated for June 25 in Halifax between the Toronto Argonauts and Saskatchewan Roughriders at Huskies Stadium on the campus of Saint Mary’s University.

“The only thing deeper than our regret is our resolve to return to Atlantic Canada,” Ambrosie said. “It pains us that this pandemic is preventing us from showing our friends in Nova Scotia, in person, just how saddened we are by the senseless tragedy they have been forced to bear, and how much we admire their strength.”

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

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