CFL commish asks Dick Pound for help with drug policy

New CFL commissioner Mark Cohon revealed Monday that he approached Dick Pound about helping the league implement a drug-testing policy.

New CFL commissioner Mark Cohon revealed that he approached Dick Pound about helping the league implement a drug-testing policy.

Speaking at a news conference Monday, Cohon admitted he sent an invitation via e-mail to Pound, the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, to get together to discuss what's required for the league to establish a testing policy.

Pound has publicly criticized the CFL in the past for not having a drug-testing policy.

"I think Dick was happy that I reached out to him," Cohon said. "I think I got him when he was in Switzerland and he said, 'Great, Mark, let's get together; I think it's important we have this discussion.'

"Dick is with the World Anti-Doping Agency for another six months but I'm definitely going to lean on him in terms of thinking about ideas and putting our offices together in terms of looking at what's an ideal program that we can discuss."

Cohon, who was hired as commissioner two months ago, didn't say if he and Pound are scheduled to meet anytime soon.

Regardless of what they agree upon if they do meet, the CFL cannot implement a drug-testing policy without the support of the CFL Players' Association.

Cohon recently told that he has touched base with union president Stu Laird and that the two have had preliminary discussions about a drug-testing policy.

"I've said publicly that I think it's important to have one and we're going to start doing some of that work. I've had initial conversations with Stu Laird and we're going to start talking about this over a period of time with the CFL governors," Cohon said.

"It's something important for the CFL. The league has done a little in the past, but I want to get some more relevant information out there. What are the other leagues doing? What's the appropriate way of approaching this with our players' association? This has to be done in partnership with our players."

Cohon plans to stringently enforce salary cap

Cohon also said Monday one of his top priorities for the upcoming season is to ensure the league's eight teams adhere to the $4.05-million salary cap.

"The salary management system is critical the [CFL's] success," Cohon said. "We've started the audit for the 2007 season already and I will tell you, all teams are complying.

"I view the [salary management system] as singularly my most important job as the commissioner to make sure that we have a level playing field for all of our teams."

Clubs that exceed the cap by $100,000 will be fined $1 for every $1 they're over. Those going $300,000 or more over will pay $3 for every $1 they're over.

The CFL has hired Trevor Hardy, a forensic accountant, to keep an eye on teams' spending. Clubs must provide full disclosure regarding player salaries, bonuses and any side deals.

With files from the Canadian Press