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The CFL will have a new salary cap for 2006.
The league announced Tuesday that its board of governors ratified a new cap on the first of two days of meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz. The CFL didn't divulge the amount of the cap but it has been widely reported that commissioner Tom Wright intended to table a proposal that would increase the cap to $3.8 million from the existing $2.6 million limit.
It's generally accepted throughout the league that all nine teams exceeded that limit in 2005.
"This is an extraordinary day for this league," Wright said in a statement released late Tuesday night. "We have collectively agreed on a system that will provide our fans with the assurance that each and every team can compete on a level playing field year in and year out.
"The new salary management system provides all member clubs with greater financial stability through the mechanism of cost certainty."
The CFL did not provide specific details, but did say the new plan also covers competitive balance, annual salary expenditure maximums, roster management, compliance monitoring and enforcement. Wright is expected to shed more light on the new deal during a conference call Wednesday.
All the CFL needs now is acceptance of the new cap by the CFL Players' Association for it to become official.
Wright needed six of the nine governors to accept the salary cap for it to pass at the board level.
The adoption of a new cap has long been a priority of Wright's. At his annual Grey Cup news conference, he listed salary management as his top goal for 2006, and set out establishing a committee made up of Bobby Ackles (B.C.), Rick LeLacheur (Edmonton), Howard Sokolowski (Toronto), Ted Hellard (Calgary) and Bob Wetenhall (Montreal) -- ironically, regarded among the CFL's biggest salary cap offenders -- to resolve the problem.
Getting league governors to agree on a salary management system could prove to be a huge feather in Wright's cap. Heading into the meetings, the prevailing talk throughout the CFL was that the vote on a new cap was essentially a vote on Wright's future with the league.
Wright is in his fourth season as CFL commissioner, but only has the security of a one-year contract extension that expires following the 2006 Grey Cup in Winnipeg. Wright had sought a long-term deal last summer, but couldn't garner the necessary support and instead was offered the one-year extension with no raise in pay.
His ability to persuade the board to accept a new cap could be important for his long-term fate because acceptance would signify that Wright had the support of at least six of the nine governors. That might allow Wright to again approach the board about a long-term extension.
Wright would need to have seven of the nine governors on board to get a new contract.
Wright's biggest dissentors are Wetenhall and B.C. Lions owner David Braley, two of the league's power brokers who voted against giving him a contract extension.
Wright also drew Wetenhall's ire earlier this month when Wright fired Ed Chalupka, the league's longtime senior vice-president of football operations.
Hamilton owner Bob Young was also against giving Wright a long-term extension but did relent in supporting the one-year deal. Young has no personal axe to grind with Wright but reportedly has questioned whether he has the business savvy required to boost league revenues to the point where all CFL teams can either break even or make a profit.
The Ticats have enjoyed an amazing turnaround under Young, who has hired a dynamic front-office staff that has helped the CFL club sell most of its seats and corporate sponsorship opportunities at Ivor Wynne Stadium. Yet, the Ticats continue to lose money.
If Wright can take the necessary steps towards making the CFL member clubs at least break even -- and a salary cap is seen as an important first step -- then he might be inclined to lend his support of Wright on a long-term extension.
i think Tom Wright should get another 1-year extension...see how the cap works. maybe he should hire someone ( unless thats why he hired the guy from molson ) who bob considers business savy enough to get more league revenues.