As COVID-19 circumstances surge throughout Canada, thanks largely to the extra contagious variants of concern and a vaccine rollout that has been working at a snail’s tempo, we expect to obtain an replace as early as Monday from the Canadian Soccer League on the standing of its upcoming season.
Phrase is the league will announce that its 2021 schedule — slated to kick off on June 10 with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats visiting the Winnipeg Blue Bombers — won’t begin on time.
The most recent improvement comes after the federal authorities reportedly rejected the CFL’s newest request for a $30-million interest-free mortgage. An identical request was sacked by the Trudeau Liberals final yr, forcing the 2020 season to be scrapped.
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Suspending the beginning of the 2021 marketing campaign will additional hamper the league’s backside line and also will reenergize those that assist a rumoured merger between the CFL and the XFL.
We all know CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie and XFL homeowners Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Dani Garcia and RedBird Capital — who bought the league out of chapter for $15 million final yr — have been discussing how they’ll “collaborate, innovate, and develop the sport of soccer.”
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Neither facet has publicly stated their discussions will in the end lead to a merger, and as a fan of the CFL I’d be towards such a transfer primarily based on the truth that the three-down sport has been round for many years whereas the XFL has managed to play a season and a half in a span of 20 years.
I’ll admit that the CFL has its warts and lots of of them are associated to the almighty greenback, however whereas nobody is getting wealthy taking part in within the league or proudly owning a group, it has stood the check of time.
In saying that, if the CFL and XFL determine to affix forces there are particular components of the Canadian sport that needs to be retained.
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A merged league ought to maintain the Gray Cup. It has been round for greater than 100 years and is crammed with a century of reminiscences, one thing that may’t be stated for the XFL championship trophy.
The CFL-XFL must also use three downs as a substitute of the four-down sport utilized within the NFL. Sure, soccer followers south of the border have watched the four-down sport for many years on the skilled and faculty degree, so why compete with that?
A merged league should supply one thing completely different.
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To that finish, maintaining the waggle, the 20-second play clock and 12 gamers on either side can be a should — all parts that make the CFL a fast-paced and distinctive sport.
Once more, I hope a merger doesn’t come to be, however as they are saying ‘the place there’s smoke, there’s fireplace.”
On the very least, I hope the CFL can get its monetary geese in a row this yr and we will rejoice the return of soccer in Canada, to not point out the Gray Cup sport in Hamilton, in 2021.
Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, information and senior sports activities director at International Information Radio 900 CHML.
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