Cohon Weighs In On CFL/MSL Battle In Ottawa

Acccording to this report on, CFL Commissioner Mark Cohen issued an open letter to Ottawa sports fans today responding to negative comments made about the CFL by Ottawa Senators' owner and Major League Soccer fanatic Eugene Melnyk:

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Perry Lefko has also posted an article on today about the Ottawa situation:

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Wow. Those sure are some idiotic comments by Melnyk.

Good going Mark Cohon.

Here is a link to the full text of CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon's open letter to the people of Ottawa as shown on the website:

In my opinion Cohon was very elegant but could have gone much further. The CFL has been around over 60 years. Canadian football is over 100 years old. By contrast MLS is the FOURTH pro soccer league in North America in the last 20 years. We seen the NASL the ASL the A league and now MLS. NONE have proven to be viable, even the NASL with the most popular player (Pele) in the history of the game could not grow and sustain itself.

Also Cohon and CFL fans across Canada should make their feelings well known about public money going to finance infrastructure that in their charter hamper or prevent their use by anyone else. IF the MLS wants soccer only facilities THEIR IS NO REASON WHAT SO EVER THAT TAX PAYER MONEY BE INJECTED. Any facility built with tax payer money in part or in whole should be accessible to ANY organisation that raises its hand prior to it being built. What happened at BMO is an aberation and should never happen again. We need to organise somehow, all we need is a group of 12 or so individuals representative of the country as a whole and a benefactor and we'll do the rest. That's it ! Let's get on with it !

You make some good points, HfxTC. Professional soccer has yet to prove its long-term liability in Canada although it does seem to be moving in that direction in Toronto.

Argo co-owner David Cynamon, who was a guest on Bob McCown's Prime Time Sports talk show on TheFan590 yesterday, reminisced on how the Argos were squeezed of the opportunity to play football at BMO Field when Maple Leaf Sports Enterprises and the Canadian Soccer Association decided that it must be a soccer specific stadium and now the Argos are stuck in a venue where their landlord (Rogers Communications) has brought in an NFL team and wants to play their one annual "Toronto Bills" game during the Argos' regular season instead of in December as had been done in 2008. Major renovations would need to be done to BMO Field to enable the Argos to play there so a move out of Rogers Centre is impossible at this time.

Now Eugene Melnyk is copying MLSE by planning to build a soccer specific stadium in Ottawa and cut the CFL out of the action. He has even gone one further with his anti-CFL comments. Here's hoping that Ottawa city council sees the light and chooses the Lansdowne Park redevelopment proposal when it comes time to decide on which stadium to build.

I hope the CFL gets more involved with this Ottawa situation. Ottawa and the CFL both need each other so I hope the CFL Commissioner keeps on making his case in a bold way. The new CFL franchise should stand on its own merits.
Let Melnyk do what the hell he wants.

Here is this mornings latest Sun article about Cohon and the CFL. They are also running another poll
"do you think the CFL is dying"

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This article by David Naylor was in today's edition of the Globe and Mail:

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If Melnyk continues to insist on a soccer specific stadium in Kanata for Major League Soccer to the exclusion of the CFL, then the Schenkman Ottawa CFL group should consider proposing to bring a United Soccer League franchise for a renovated Frank Clair Stadium in addition to the Ottawa CFL franchise. The USL franchise fee is about 1/40th the cost of an MSL franchise fee and, while the attendance figures are less than that of the MSL, the quality of the soccer is comparable: for example, the Montreal Impact of the USL defeated Toronto FC of the MSL last year to win the right to represent Canada in the CONCACAF Club Championship Series and have made it to the Champions League quarter finals to be played at Olympic Stadium in Montreal on Feb 25/09. The other interesting dimension to this possible approach is that Bob Young is a part owner of the Carolina RailHawks of USL Division 1 and would be able to provide some guidance to the Schenkman group should they decide to apply for a USL franchise.

Another great newspaper poll "do you think the CFL is dying"? What type of a question is that especially in a city that doesn't have a team? Biased as to what they want to hear, that's for sure.

I like it :slight_smile:

Thanks, HfxTC.

There was some good news for the Schenkman CFL Ottawa group in this article in today's edition of the Ottawa Citizen which was posted by "dmont" on the forum today. The Ottawa Citizen obtained a poll done by EKOS research indicating that, although Ottawa citizens are split as to whether MLS soccer or CFL football is the preferred sport (44% to 43% respectively), an overwhelming percentage of those polled favour the Lansdowne Park site over the Kanata site (79% to 15% respectively) to build the sports stadium:

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If that trend continues to be representative of Ottawa citizens' site preference for, and if the Ottawa city council respects their opinion, then Eugene Melnyk would have to change his position and have his Ottawa MSL team play in a renovated or rebuilt Frank Clair Stadium at Lansdowne Park as it is highly unlikely that two stadiums will be built in Ottawa. Maybe the Schenkman group won't need to resort to the potential Plan "B" proposed in a previous post on this thread after all.