New Brunswick

CFL, Moncton work on deal for more games

The Canadian Football League and Moncton are still trying to finalize a deal that would bring another regular-season game to the New Brunswick city.

The Canadian Football League and Moncton are still trying to finalize a deal that would bring another regular-season game to the New Brunswick city.

Last year, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency approved a financial package to quickly bring the CFL game to Moncton.

This year ACOA, the provincial government, the CFL and the city are still in negotiations but are working under a looming deadline. The league's schedule is released in February.

Ian Fowler, the city's negotiator, admits the various negotiators are working under a tight schedule to finalize the deal considering the schedule deadline.

"There's no question time is ticking," Fowler said.

Fowler said he is confident a deal will be reached. The sticking point, he said, surrounds details involved in working out a three- to five-year deal.

Moncton sold out its first regular-season game in September — a matchup between the Toronto Argonauts and the Edmonton Eskimos — in 32 hours.

The game was hosted at the University of Moncton's new stadium, which hosted the IAAF world junior track championships this year. The stadium's seating can be expanded to hold 20,000 for major events.

'Rumours out there'

Roger Collette, the president of Football Canada who lives in Moncton, said fans in the region are eager to see a deal for more football games finalized.

"Everybody is pretty anxious; there's all kinds of rumours out there," Collette said.

However, there is also pressure from groups, such as the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, that are lobbying governments to stop giving funding for football games in Moncton.

The federal and provincial governments invested $1.5 million in the CFL event.

There is also pressure from other cities hoping to land a game.

Liberal MLA Chris Collins responded cautiously to a question about Halifax also lobbying for a game.

"I know that there are competing markets that are looking at also having a CFL game in their markets, but I'm confident that we have the right venue," Collins said.

Moncton has also lured the Uteck Bowl from Halifax for the next several years.

The University of Moncton confirmed in September the Uteck Bowl will be played at the school's stadium in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

The national university football semifinal game has been played in Halifax almost uninterrupted for more than 30 years.

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