‘That sucks’: Teen football fan reacts after CFL cancels season

Story by CBC Kids News • 2020-08-18 15:36

Canadian government turned down league’s request for $30-million loan

“This pandemic really sucks.”

That’s how 14-year-old Elliot Blake reacted when he was told that the Canadian Football League (CFL) had cancelled its season because of a lack of funding during the coronavirus pandemic.

The football player from Hamilton said being able to watch Canadian teams go head-to-head this fall might have helped “a lot of people get through quarantine.”

But that wasn’t enough to convince the Canadian government to lend the league $30-million so the season could take place.

First time in 101 years

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie announced on Monday that the 2020 CFL season was cancelled.

That means that for the first time in 101 years, the Grey Cup, the trophy awarded to the winner of the championship game, won't be handed out.

Elliot Blake in full gear runs while holding the football.

Elliot Blake, who is a Hamilton Tiger-Cats fan, played high-school football before the pandemic. (Image submitted by Elliot Blake)

CFL asked for a loan

The CFL officially requested a $30-million loan from the Canadian government on Aug. 3.

That amount was to help make up for money lost last season and potential losses during the upcoming season, given that there wouldn’t be any fans in the stands to buy tickets.

Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault said the government tried to work with the CFL by helping it navigate programs set up to support Canadian businesses during the pandemic.

And although the league “was able to benefit” from some of them, he said, CFL officials decided to cancel the season anyway.

Reactions

Some members of the government, including Liberal MP Peter Fragiskatos, said it made sense not to offer the CFL more money than other Canadian businesses.

“While the CFL is an extremely important part of our sport heritage, it’s not entitled to special treatment,” he tweeted on Monday.

Player hoists the Grey Cup and gets sprayed by champagne.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were the last team to take home the Grey Cup in 2019. (Image credit: Derek Leung/Getty Images)

“That sucks,” said Elliot about the government’s decision.

“I feel like they could have spared some money for the CFL.”

The NFL is still planning to launch a regular season beginning on Sept. 10, but Elliot said American football just isn’t the same.

The CFL “feels like our league.”

Given the uncertainty of the fall, Elliot said it would have helped to have something to look forward to.


TOP IMAGE CREDIT: John Woods/The Canadian Press

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