CFL teams will have a bit more money to spend on player payroll next season.
The league’s board of governors agreed on a new $4.05 million salary cap figure Friday that will be implemented in 2007. The figure is up from the $3.8 million that league governors had initially approved last January.
CFL governors approved the new cap in the off-season, but agreed not to begin officially enforcing it until next season to give clubs a year to adjust to the new plan.
“The establishment of an agreed upon salary cap is the next critical component in the foundation we are trying to build with the salary management system,” commissioner Tom Wright said in a prepared statement. “It’s a significant step in what we are trying to do financially and to establish cost certainty.”
Calgary Stampeders president Ted Hellard, the chairman of the CFL’s salary management committee, said the new cap figure should allow teams the flexibility to be competitive.
“The entire salary management system has been a well thought-out process and the final step to that process was determining an actual cap number for 2007,” he said. "The teams, both through the governors and the operators, looked at their various costs and commitments - in other words how much they thought they could run a team on.
“Then through a process of constructive discussion, we were able to come up with a figure that teams are comfortable with in terms of being able to deliver a quality product on the field while retaining the type of cost certainty they thought could help their business operate.”
Hellard, who also chairs the CFL’s franchise committee, said the board also discussed the return of the league to Ottawa. The league suspended the Renegades franchise in the off-season after the former owners wouldn’t cover the club’s projected 2006 loss.
At the time the Renegades’ franchise was suspended, Wright said it was his hope that the CFL would return to the Canadian capital next season. But recent reports have suggested that 2008 is a more logical timeline.
Hellard said the next phase is for the franchise committee to meet with representatives of the groups - reported to be three - that submitted letters of intent to the CFL on Sept 9. Hellard expects those meetings to take place in the next two weeks.
“We’re pressing hard to try to find that date, but it will happen when it’s convenient for everybody to get together,” Hellard said. "The league office has never made a factual statement that there will be no team in Ottawa-Gatineau in 2007.
“However, having said that, if you follow logic as we go down the selection process to try to find a partner, the further that process pushes out the smaller the window becomes on which anybody can logically launch a franchise in 2007. From our perspective, that decision really is one that has to be made in unison with that chosen partner. Until you have a partner you really can’t have a discussion about an actual starting date.”