Friday, November 23, 2018
10 THINGS FROM CFL COMMISSIONER RANDY AMBROSIE'S STATE OF THE LEAGUE
EDMONTON - Canadian Football League Commissioner Randy Ambrosie held his annual State of the League Address at 2018 Grey Cup Week in the Alberta Capital.
It was Ambrosie's second such address. Last year at the 2017 Grey Cup in Ottawa was his first, as a first-year Commissioner.
Here are 10 notes Ambrosie's Friday's media session at The Westin Edmonton:
1 - Ambrosie admitted to not particularly looking forward to this address, and joked that he was finding reasons not to go. Why? Because the former CFL lineman confessed that the league faces several challenges in the immediate future, noting "We are on a journey".
2 - The first question from the assembled media pertained to the Montreal Alouettes, who finished out of the playoffs at 5-13 and are facing attendance issues. Ambrosie revealed that he's concerned about the Alouettes however the sale of the team has never come up in conversations with team owner Andrew Wetenhall. The Commissioner said, "Football in Montreal is critical to this league".
3 - The CFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement with its players expires in May. Ambrosie said they'll open bargaining talks with the CFLPA right after the Grey Cup game and he's confident a new deal will be struck in time for the 2019 season.
4 - Regarding the 2020 Grey Cup, Ambrosie said three teams have made bids to host the event (believed to be Saskatchewan, Hamilton and Montreal) and they'd hoped to have a decision made on the successful bidder by today, however it's too close to call at this time. It will be revisited after Grey Cup.
5 - The impending salary cap on CFL coaching and football operations staffs has become a contentious issue however Ambrosie said it's a matter of "fiscal responsibility". He feels the league will still be able to find good coaches under the new mandate. Three team presidents came up with the concept, which was approved by the League. Ambrosie said a "big, strong CFL" comes from a solid on-field product as well as solid business.
6 - Regarding scrapping the current East-West alignment and moving towards a "One Division" league, Ambrosie said it will be discussed this winter. He said there's an appetite for a change from some teams as well as fans.
7 - Ambrosie said there's a "movement afoot" to move the season up and prospective Grey Cup bidders have been instructed to plan for the 2020 Grey Cup being held one week earlier.
8 - The Commissioner announced that as of Friday, the CFL and LFA (Mexico pro football league) have signed a Letter of Intent for a partnership. Ambrosie envisions an exchange of players via CFL 2.0 and that for the first time ever, the 2018 Grey Cup will be shown throughout Mexico on ESPN Deportes.
9 - The threat of the new Alliance of American Football league did not come up during the 45-minute session.
10 - Ambrosie said it's a matter of "when", not "if", Halifax joins the CFL as a 10th team. Martime Football Ltd. is represented at Grey Cup by Anthony Leblanc, Gary Drummond and legal counsel David Wallace and the team name will be unveiled at an event at 6:00 pm on Friday.