CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie attends a news conference in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday February 28, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie attends a news conference in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday February 28, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Source: Ottawa won’t provide CFL with interest-free loan in 2021

It’s unclear, though, what — if any — subsidies the league has received so far in 2021

Once again, the CFL will not get an interest-free loan from the federal government.

The two sides have maintained informal dialogue since last August when the CFL cancelled plans for an abbreviated 2020 season. That decision came after the league was unable to secure a $30-million interest-free loan from Ottawa during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A source familiar with the discussions said there also will not be an interest-free loan this year. The source was granted anonymity because neither the league nor federal government have revealed the nature of their discussions.

The CFL unveiled a full 18-game schedule for all nine teams last November that’s slated to begin June 10. But with the league’s return-to-play protocols still before the various provincial governments and nationwide vaccination programs still in their infancy, a postponement of the ‘21 season appears to be a strong possibility.

When the CFL unveiled its ‘21 schedule, commissioner Randy Ambrosie did leave the door open regarding the league’s future plans.

The source added the CFL-Ottawa talks have been more about educating the league with not only existing federal assistance programs but also those that have been offered since August.

Despite not playing in 2020, the CFL was projected to receive more than $10 million in wage subsidy from Ottawa between March and December 2020. That figure would’ve gone past $15 million had an abbreviated season been played.

It’s unclear, though, what — if any — subsidies the league has received so far in 2021.

Shortly after the CFL cancelled its 2020 season, the CFL Players’ Association told its members that those contracted to league teams would be eligible for wage subsidy from July through December. The union added the benefits could go beyond that if the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is extended, which it was to June 2021.

Last year, the CFL approached Ottawa on multiple occasions for financial assistance it maintained was essential to stage an abbreviated season. Ambrosie had said the league lost around $20 million in 2019 and a source familiar with the situation told The Canadian Press that not playing last year cost the CFL between $60 and $80 million.

Any government support would be with the caveat that football will be played for years to come. And with that would come financial transparency from the CFL regarding its future.

However, a return to the field isn’t the most crucial element for the CFL’s nine teams. It’s important that play resumes with fans in the stands as the league is gate-driven with all nine franchises relying heavily upon ticket sales to help achieve their bottom line.

So pushing back the start of the season could allow more Canadians to receive COVID-19 vaccinations and thus potentially be able to attend games in larger numbers..

Earlier this week, Ottawa reached an agreement with Air Canada — which has been battered by the global pandemic — with much-needed assistance. The company also had to commit to refunding customers who had their flights cancelled last year,

Ottawa will provide Air Canada with up to $5.9 billion through the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility, a program aimed at supporting large Canadian employers who have lost revenue due to COVID-19. The government will provide the airline low-interest loans worth up to $5.4 billion and take an equity stake in it by purchasing $500 million in stocks.

Air Canada also agreed to restore flights on nearly all suspended regional routes, cap compensation for company executives at $1 million annually and suspend share buybacks and payment of dividends to shareholders over the course of the loans.

READ MORE: CFL continuing talks with federal government about return to field in ‘21

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CFLCoronavirus

Just Posted

The owner of Mae’s Kitchen in Mirror, says hamlet residents were ‘disheartened’ by a recent anti-restriction protest. The restaurant is following all the health restrictions in place. (Photo courtesy Mae’s Kitchen Facebook)
‘We don’t need that’: Mirror restaurant against recent anti-restriction protest

Mae’s Kitchen is located less than two kilometres from The Whistle Stop

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

MP Damien Kurek receives his COVID-19 vaccination. (Photo submitted)
Local elected representatives get the jab

MP Damien Kurek and MLA Lovely get their COVID-19 vaccinations

(Historica Canada)
VIDEO: Heritage Minute marks 100th anniversary of work to discover insulin

Video centres on Leonard Thompson, 13, the first patient to receive successful injections for Type 1 diabetes

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Capt. Jenn Casey died in a crash just outside of Kamloops, B.C., on May 17, 2020. (CF Snowbirds)
Snowbirds to honour Capt. Casey, who died in B.C. crash, in 2021 tour

Tour will kick off in Ontario in June before heading west

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

The historic Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne in southern Alberta is up for sale

The lights of several emergency vehicles could be seen near the Sunken Bridge on May 13. (Photo submitted)
Patient airlifted from Ponoka with serious injuries

RCMP, fire, STARS respond to single vehicle rollover May 13

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

An Israeli attack helicopter launches flares as he flies over the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Singh calls for halt on Canadian arms sales to Israel as violence escalates in region

Government data shows Canada sent $13.7 million in military goods and technology to Israel in 2019

Most Read