Discussion with NFL is over -- Cohon

CFL not renewing deal with NFL

[b]Fallout from Bills invasion, source says

Sean Fitz-Gerald, National Post
Published: Thursday, June 05, 2008[/b]


[i]TORONTO - The Canadian Football League has ceased negotiations on a new working agreement with the National Football League–ending a formal relationship that began a decade ago – as the powerful U. S.-based league prepares for an unprecedented eight-game series that will open this summer in Toronto.

While stating his belief that the leagues maintain “a strong relationship,” CFL commissioner Mark Cohon said talks were not progressing as his employers might have hoped.

And while Mr. Cohon declined to outline specific aspects of the discussion, one CFL source suggested the move was based in part on a symbolic show of strength against a potential foreign invader.

In February, it was announced the Buffalo Bills would stage eight games at Rogers Centre over the next five seasons, beginning with an exhibition game on Aug. 14 – one day before the Argonauts host the Montreal Alouettes.

“You work with us or you don’t work with us, there’s no half-pregnant,” said one CFL source who requested anonymity.

The initial agreement was reached in 1997, when the CFL was at one of its lowest financial ebbs and was kept afloat by a US$3-million loan from its wealthy southern neighbour.

The debt has been repaid and the circumstances have changed, with the CFL on more stable financial ground. The Toronto Argonauts, for example, are believed to have cleared more than $5-million in profit from hosting the Grey Cup last fall.

“We’ve communicated to the NFL that nothing’s been put on the table that is going to strengthen and grow our league to my satisfaction, or the satisfaction of our board of governors,” Mr. Cohon said yesterday. “And we’re not moving forward with discussions with the NFL any more.”

The NFL was notified of the decision earlier this week.

The two leagues have been working without a new agreement since the old one expired in 2006.

“We have not been able to reach an agreement on a broader relationship but remain open to future discussions with the CFL,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said yesterday in an e-mail.

Canadian teams were hemorrhaging money in 1997, not long after failed expansion experiments in such U. S. cities as Shreveport, La., Memphis, Tenn., and Birmingham, Ala. In exchange for its critical infusion of cash, the NFL was granted access to CFL players entering a defined window in the option year of their contract.

That practice will be allowed to continue, Mr. Cohon said, because it has been written into the CFL’s collective bargaining agreement with its players. He did, however, say it would remain open “through the end of this agreement.”

“I have a lot of respect for [NFL commissioner] Roger Goodell, and there’s been a long history of a relationship between our two leagues,” Mr. Cohon said.

“What we’re saying right now is, ‘there’s nothing on the table that satisfies our need to grow and strengthen this league.’ So we’re going to focus on what we need to focus on.”

Speculation has been swirling around the NFL’s future in Canada, especially since it was revealed that Rogers Communications has agreed to pay $78-million to host the Bills in Toronto. Some have predicted a swift death for the CFL if the NFL ever makes a full-time home in Canada, and Senator Larry Campbell has begun drafting a bill to protect the league from an invasion.

The Bills are based in one of the league’s smallest markets and their owner, Ralph Wilson, is approaching his 90th birthday. Mr. Wilson has indicated he does not intend to sell the team before his death, which could leave the franchise open to the highest bidder and a potential relocation.

“I always think there will be discussions between the two leagues,” Mr. Cohon said. “I think we have co-existed fine, with them south of the 49th parallel and us north of the 49th parallel. There’s always been good relationships in that, but we can’t do one-off, small initiatives that don’t create any benefit to us.”[/i]

What this says to me, among other things, is that the NFL is big-time interested in Toronto and wants to be successful there in the long run with either the Bills or an expansion franchise. And do you blame them when you have the likes of multi-billionaire Ted Rogers knocking at the door along with another billiionaire for certain, Larry Tanenbaum? And that somewhere between all of this, the NFL really doesn't want to deal with any issues that the CFL has put on the table concerning the Argo's or CFL at least issues which could hamper any NFL based initiative to get into Toronto/Canada big-time.

I don't know what to "read into" that announcement. I'm leaning towards Earl's opinion.

Senator Larry Campbell's bandwagon is begining to look better and better.

I don't know. With the US economy not too good, heck around 8 NHL owners are knocking on Balsillie's door right now, you know that any pro league needs to be looking at some stronger markets, and Toronto fits the bill, they do see how Leaf tickets are so expensive but that doesn't deter people from paying high prices. I just have to think the US economy is an issue for sure.

I think the only saving grace is the Stadium issue. I can't see an NFL Stadium being funded by the taxpayer with the high costs of everything going up.

Yeah but the RC isn't all that bad, even with just 54,000 seats at a higher ticket price and corporations involved, they can bring in lots of dough, at it is retractable. And bet your bottom dollar that Rogers will try and get it to 60,000 if things turn out well and the NFL wants this until at some point a new stadium is built. But this could affect the baseball atmosphere for the Blue Jays which if I was a fan of them, I wouldn't be too pleased about if the RC is made more NFL style ie. you don't nor want 60,000 seats for baseball, that's for sure.

IMO, negotiations between the NFL and the CFL ceased
because the NFL doesn't want to agree to anything

that would close the door to expanding into Canada
in case some NFL franchisee owner is ever interested.

A thought just crossed my mind. I am no lawyer so help is needed here.

Several years ago, a Lions player had to wait several weeks to get proper paper work to get customs and immigration clearence to come into the country. It was regarding a criminal record for something very minor. (I wish I could remember the circumstance or name). My question is, what about all those players in the NFL with gun violations, drug violations, assaults, etc, etc, etc,. How is the Canadian Red tape going to effect that? Will that pose a problem for visiting NFL teams should Toronto ever get a franchise?

Any lawyers out there with answers?

It can. First of all, they would need US passports to enter Canada. Those are not always easy to get with criminal records.

Even at that, it's the right of Canada to allow entry into the country (or not). Legally, a passport is simply a formal request from the government of one country to another to allow the bearer of the passport free and unfettered access in the foreign country. There are criteria our government has established regarding entry of foreigners with criminal records. At a minimum, applications need to ne filed and accepted. At the worst levels, Minsterial approval is required.

Bob Probert is perhaps the best-known example where entry was denied. And it works both ways, as anyone with a friend who has a DUI conviction and is trying to go to the states will tell you.

Absent some express governmental desire to keep these players out for "other" reasons, there would be increased red tape, but all teams have departments of people who's job it is to get these details looked after - so it creates extra work, but, unless someone tried to use that for political mileage, it would be something that the teams would simply work out for the players needing the additional work.

.....I don't think the CFL will ever have to worry about the nfl getting a foothold in Canada..Once Larry Campbell gets his bill passed ,that'll be the end of the road for that nonsense...Cohon is starting to read the writing on the wall and is finally seeing the situation for what it is also...Billionaires don't dictate policy in this country , governments do, and as we have seen lately... the lengths govt. will go to to protect things that are Canadian ( the space technology which was NOT sold to the Americans) We'll most likely see , the same protection afforded to OUR football... :wink:

In exchange for its critical infusion of cash, the NFL was granted access to CFL players entering a defined window in the option year of their contract.

That practice will be allowed to continue, Mr. Cohon said, because it has been written into the CFL's collective bargaining agreement with its players. He did, however, say it would remain open "through the end of this agreement."

Does this mean Cohon is going to push for a better agreement between the players and the league? :o

Wow, finally it appears Cohon has got the balls to say what most of us want.
Get lost NFL and I agree government legislation as floated earlier is needed to get rid of the big elephant possibility.

DUI is not a felony in the U.S.. It will not prevent you from entering the country. I know this for certain because I had a client who needed to come here and we had to contact the U.S. Consulate in Calgary to check that he wouldn't be denied. We were told that a simple DUI conviction in Canada is not grounds for refusal, regardless that it is an indictable offence.

However, a DUI conviction in the U.S. WILL prevent you from entering Canada.

Ididn't mean to imply that it would bar you from entry, but that red tape may be encountere in terms of checking, getting permission, etc. A bad comparative on my part, sorry.

Oh, and I don't believe DUI's are an automatic barrier to entry into Canada, either, although this is far from my area soI could be wrong.

...then why did we let Gordon Campbell back into BC???

In the end, Cohon may well have to support a government intervention of some sort if he absolutely has to and I don't think he wants to do this at all. Interesting. I'd love to hear the talk between Ted Rogers and Roger Goodell, how about something like this:

"Ah Roger, don't worry about those mickey mouse CFL people, just a few nobodies care about them and we'd all be better off if they would just die off like a lot of Canadian outfits should, well, except mine of course". :wink:

Yup, I could see Ted and Larry saying something like this!

The word on DUIs to enter Canada is that if the conviction is more than ten years old, you will have LESS problems getting a permit (which costs $150). There are no guarantees that you will be granted one though.

The U.S. has apparently started scrutinizing DUIs more closely and is reluctant to allow visitors who have had one within the last three years or is a habitual drinker. Though I don't believe that normally you would be denied as long as you are upfront about it.

I agree with ArgoTom.
Its about time Cohon stood up and said we will go on their own.
And to those preaching for the government to "save" the CFL?
Oh please.
The CFL has nothing to fear. In fact Cohon may start getting more aggressive with expansion so as to further alienate the one NFL team in Taranna.
But to give up before the first shot is fired?
And beg for the NFL or the government to save you?
Hell, if you people think the CFL is that weak and frail, you may as well fold the bloody thing right now.

Gordo is back because it is a fundamental right of any citizen of Canada to be allowed back into the country. They may go straight to jail if they have committed a crime, but it would be a Canadian jail - at that point, if the crime was committed in another country, the extradition process would be necessary.

I'm rooting for Larry Campbell - the CFL is part of Canadian heritage - think about how many people who don't normally watch football watch the Grey Cup ... the CFL does matter to Canadians and we just have to get the word out to our politicians - Stephen Harper being the exception - he is so pro-American one would think he is from Toronto

Yes a three prong attack:
1 "Negotiate" with the NFL only with the CFL priority first, not capitulating one bit, another words stay out.
2 If no to above, then government legislation.
3 Together with 2, country wide and organized boycott of those companies, such as Rogers MLSE etc that plan to disrupt the status quo.