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CFL suspends operations of Renegades

Tom Wright

Tom Wright

4/9/2006 8:12:23 PM

TORONTO (CP) - The CFL has put the troubled Ottawa Renegades franchise on ice.

The league's board of governors decided Sunday during a meeting at a Toronto hotel to suspend the Renegades' operation for the 2006 season and work to find a new owner for the franchise in time for a potential re-launch in 2007.

''In the end, with the scarcity in time we were not able to find that owner or that ownership group but it wasn't for a lack of trying,'' CFL commissioner Tom Wright said. ''We spoke to many really good individuals but it was their decision that there wasn't enough time to properly do this.

''The decision to suspend the Ottawa franchise was certainly a difficult one, but one we think was the right one. Right now our focus is to get ready for the 2006 season. I certainly believe an owner for Ottawa does exist, but we will only do it with the right owner.''

There's some question, however, whether Wright will be around to see a new owner take over in Ottawa. Wright is in the final year of his contract and needs the support of at least seven of the nine governors to get a multi-year extension. Wright failed to sway enough board members on a multi-year deal last summer, receiving just a one-year extension instead.


 

With Ottawa gone for 2006, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will move into the East Division to give the CFL two four-team conferences.

The Bombers played previously in the East from 1987 to 1994 and 1997 to 2001, the last stint after the former Ottawa Rough Riders folded.

Players currently under contract to the Ottawa club - most notably quarterback Kerry Joseph and receiver Jason Armstead - will be made available to other CFL teams in a league dispersal draft, although no date has been set.

''A dispersal draft will be held in the coming days,'' Wright said, adding the league and CFL Players' Assoication are expected to talk Monday and begin finalizing details.

But Renegades head coach John Jenkins and his staff might not be so lucky. Their contracts aren't guartanteed and now they all face having to find new jobs, although there are reports majority owner Bernie Glieberman has pledged to take care of the Ottawa coaches even though he's not legally obligated to.

The Renegades must refund about $850,000 in season-ticket money to their fans.

The CFL revised its schedule, with Winnipeg replacing Ottawa as the pre-season opponents for the Montreal Alouettes. The Touchdown Atlantic exhibition game in Halifax between the Als and Renegades was cancelled outright, although Wright hopes the game can be resurrected in 2007.

The revised schedule will kick off June 16 and conclude Oct. 28, followed by the playoffs and Grey Cup game.

The CFL spent two weeks desperately searching for a new owner for the franchise after minority owner Bill Smith indicated he no longer wanted to put money into the club and Glieberman wasn't willing to be accountable for more than $2.5 million in losses. The Renegades reportedly lost about $4 million last year and was projected to lose between $5 and $6 million in 2006.

Glieberman had sought a $2-million loan from the CFL to help cover the projected losses but league governors voted against the proposal, and as a result the franchise was put up for sale March 22. Shortly afterwards, the league established a committee to find a new owner for the club in time for the upcoming season.

And while the CFL spoke to the likes of Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melynk, David Asper, executive vice-president of CanWest Global Communications Corp., and Anthony Primerano, the president of Golden Gate Capital, a mortgage-origination company based in Toronto, no deal could be reached.

With CFL training camps set to open later next month, the CFL faced two options: Fund the Renegades itself, or mothball the franchise for a year and continue the search for a new owner.

''We spent a lot of time analyzing and looking at the prospect of managing this ourselves,'' Wright said. ''We looked at it and said to ourselves, `Would we be able to do the product on the field, the organization and community justice by trying to manage this situation ourselves?' Again, we felt in the long-term interests of the fans and players it was right to suspend operations.''

The CFL assumed operation of both the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts during the 2003 season when ownership for the two clubs either stopped or could no longer pay the bills. But the difference then, though, was the league stepped in at mid-season.

Operating the Renegades would've meant the CFL using funds allocated to its member teams to keep Ottawa afloat, and considering the majority of league teams are already losing money, that wasn't much of an option.

Ironically, CFL teams actually stand to benefit financially from the Renegades' demise. With one less team to split league-generated revenues with, the remaining eight clubs reportedly will receive an extra $160,000 apiece this season.

''We will now move into the next phase, which is working long-term to find the right ownership for Ottawa,'' Wright said, ''We do have the luxury of time, however, and we will apply the same criteria that we had over the last two weeks moving forward.''



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NO. AUTHOR MESSAGE
1 starsfan And the laughingstock that is the CFL just got fun ...
2 donald36 Sad, but necessary. Local ownership never stepped ...
3 davesask Ottawa has had their two kicks at the cat. The CFL ...
4 beener24 ok riders, go and get joseph now, dont be stupid ...
5 aday254 If the CFL can't make it in Ottawa, given the popu ...
6 ab608 This is not surprising. There was a reason Ottawa ...
7 exponut This, for Ottawa, has to be strike 2 and you are o ...
8 ticatsackattack Time for the Ticats to fleece Saskatchewan of some ...
9 muff_man Well this was inevitable, although I don't think i ...
10 gsmall got to get this team up and running. Come on! Ma ...
11 TooMuts the only thing I see thats a negative about this i ...
12 bbad316 No offense to Ottawa..But being a HUGE Bomber fan. ...
13 texas2 This league is a joke. They need to find better l ...
14 senssmaq If Tom Wright has any integrity at all he will res ...
15 hardtohandle Send the flowers, mumble a few nice words, and for ...
16 cll805 Sad day for the city of Ottawa. It really is to ba ...
17 Austin3:16 I will tell you what, if Shivers & the Riders ...
18 oilmaniac It's a sad day for the CFL, a league I love to wat ...
19 calgarysportsfan the CFL continues to be a joke. Why not put teams ...
20 fdnypd Let's hope they find an owner...how about Melnyk w ...
21 barneysays It's the best, for now. As excited as I was seeing ...
22 daveinthebay This is emarassing. Rodney Dangerfield got more re ...
23 cprtrain The City of Ottawa needs a team. Step and be count ...
24 BobbyDigital That sucks. We had some good players. You won't ge ...
25 TeamClark1 do it right, get the name back (Riders), get Melny ...
26 fieldgoal As a season ticket holder for all the years of thi ...
27 CFL_Riders Strike 3 - no more Glieberman in the CFL. If they ...
28 dasGrunge If Ottawa can sell out Ottawa Senators games night ...
29 tsf80 Joseph in Green and White is the only thing that c ...
30 Ottawa_SanFrancisco The CFL never gave a damn about Ottawa. Since the ...
31 mj232323 Everyone has a share of the blame here...this shou ...
32 gillies40 The Commisionner of The CFL Should resign. He was ...
33 bruinsnticats Well my worst fears are now confirmed and I feel t ...
34 bewhitty EXCELLENT MOVE - now we have a solid 8 team league ...
35 Bonkrr senssmaq, talk sensible. How do you blame this on ...
36 ericmiles This is a sad day for Ottawa and the CFL. I am a m ...
37 barnesbb awww, damnit. sure Ottawa doesn't support footba ...
38 mido4cfl Why cancel the game in Halifax .. why couldn't the ...
39 Ottawa_SanFrancisco The following names should be held responsible for ...
40 esks This is bad for everybody. CFL - you failed!! We c ...
41 robertazimmerman Why put a "professional" franchise in a city that ...
42 wdubroy I won't be back. what a joke the CFL is. Suspendin ...
43 alex_n88 Why is it that Ottawa is always cursed with poor o ...
44 brandima PATHETIC. I had seasons tickets and what shame tho ...
45 brandima exponutexponut .. I went to the games.. everyone ...
46 sportzfreak I am not an expert on being a CFL Commissioner or ...
47 nastybruin Only the fools in the CFL could let two questionab ...
48 42in66 What an absolute joke! I don't know if I can ev ...
49 KKEK Had to be done. The best decision was made. As a ...
50 loveCFL Other pro sports leagues have had trouble with som ...
51 chinbopper Sad news. Wish I had the bux or I'd buy them! ...
52 riderfan Hey ticatsackattack who says we need Joeseph last ...
53 herschelcrustofsky Shivers, sick to your guns and dont sign joseph. ...
54 riders674 Im so sick of this constant scapegoating by Ottawa ...
55 42in66 Ottawa_SanFrancisco, I just read your post and I a ...
56 flamingo411 Its unfortunate to have to say this but this is th ...
57 diehardcfl two years from now when the next owner bails, watc ...
58 sensfan1506 The CFL needs to step up and find a REAL OWNER who ...
59 nikpro9 Lost in all this is the effect that it will have o ...
60 mbomb Sad, sad, sad. 5 steps back for the CFL. ...
61 PsychoJason With "that" out of the way, it looks like the Winn ...
62 bomberfan40 I do believe winnipeg would get second pick after ...
63 goldferret Sensfan1506 hit the nail on the head. Fans in Otta ...
64 rhardy All you idiots who blame this on the city of Ottaw ...
65 kevin167 The CFL will forever now be an 8 team league. Ther ...
66 bomberfan85 All the Rider fans out there who for some reason t ...
67 RavenFan What is up with this league? I am an NFL fan and ...
68 doubleblue1 The CFL and Tom Wright really blew this one by let ...
69 bombermitch Good. Now Winnipeg has a better chance of making ...
70 tyler15 Tom Wright and the Board of Gov's. should PAY dear ...
71 Cheeseman I swear that the Glieberman's would screw up a lem ...
72 charleedog SO sad to hear this again, but when they allowed t ...
73 dklus The Bombers would be better off getting some defen ...
74 maxlou Ottawa_SanFrancisco: You left one name off your ...
75 don450 well the only positive outcome of this ,is that Jo ...
76 timmc78 PsychoJason...comments like that get me angry, the ...
77 maxthedog Ultimately, the Ottawa fans got terrible owners to ...
78 campy2k3 i dont see y everyone is harping on the cfl it was ...
79 lewiee There was no other choice that the cfl could have ...
80 pcgauthier Surprise, surprise. The Glibermann's were a disgr ...
81 comndr I don't see why so many people blame Wright for th ...
82 gadesnsensn67s I am sick and tired of seeing football fans who th ...
83 bm21 It's sad to see this happen. The league was making ...
84 loot91 Ottawa needs to have a team called the Rough Rider ...
85 loot91 I can tell from the posts that there are some inte ...
86 made_in_canada_m26 AND NOW TO REVEAL THE SIMPLE TRUTH - Ottawa fans ( ...
87 westsidewalker Well it is a sad day in the CFL with the loss of t ...
88 ottawarr As a season ticket holder, I really feel offended ...
89 heavyd63 this just goes to show that Ottawa can not manage ...
90 VILLEBARF Ottawa folding (again), is not the stupidest thing ...
91 kornzilla Ottawa fans are fairweather fans. Once the Senato ...
92 robr_t too bad--this is a great sport-as far as guys like ...
93 dahema Why let the Gliebermans return in the first place? ...
94 Cheeseman People can rant all they want about the fans in Ot ...
95 daveswiss Renegades' second kick off was bad from the start. ...
96 madsl Brad Watters were here for three years and this th ...
97 bartsimpson650 exponut You obviously are misinformed. The CFL d ...
98 percula99 made_in_canada_m26 - Don't blame the fans in Ottaw ...
99 habsfanbill Ottawa has alwyas supported their team , and this ...
100 maritimerinottawa It's kind of like a dying grandparent when they fi ...
101 BobbyDigital Well get an NFL team Ottawa. You could get 60,000 ...
102 tomhallick In the end it was the ONLY thing the CFL could do. ...
103 grampy17 By the time I see these posts, everybody in the co ...
104 wpg#1 I don't care what anybody says, Ottawa citizens ar ...
105 Smith041958 CFL is a joke. In 94 when they expanded to the U.S ...
106 iceman1115 Tom Wright is THE best Commissioner in CFL history ...
107 nuckleheadfan This is BS! I'm sure the weaker teams like Calgar ...
108 wpgtrick great for the Bombers! Joesph or Banks!!! either w ...
109 catdiehard Not the City of Ottawa's fault!!!!!! People, he ...
110 jimbrown I'm 32 years old and I watched cfl football at a t ...
111 cdnguiness WEll that does it for this fan, I was a season tic ...
112 alain62 To all those who badmouth Ottawa football fans, ju ...
113 rasta99 There are a lot of opinions on why the Ottawa fran ...
114 ms_conduct kornzilla, you're an idiot. The team isn't foldin ...
115 jems hey kornzilla, when the sens almost went down it w ...
116 steven62 Perhaps this is another example of hte CFL looking ...
117 bobellee Hopefully the worst excuse for a professional leag ...
118 Wings06 Ownership has always been and always will be the p ...
119 pds41 maybe it's time for a Westerns style publice owner ...
120 baseballnt It's time the CFL was quashed and a deal struck wi ...
121 posavoie Forget brining them back then! Who would want this ...
122 cowboyfan2 Forget about two divisions, just have one eight te ...
123 tigertown Everyone blames the Gliebermans and yes they are i ...
124 posavoie All of you who say that it's Ottawa's fault and no ...
125 Dbuck Tom Wright is the worst President the CFL has EVER ...
126 geoffh I blame the fans in Ottawa for this horrible situa ...
127 ravens As someone who has lived in Ottawa for less then 1 ...
128 MulletDude So the CFL is a "joke", eh? A lot of you guys obvi ...
129 1234 The CFL is not a joke league because a team folded ...
130 bclionscflfan Two kicks at the cat are enough. Ottawa is not fo ...
131 chubb195 Tom Wright has to go he is making a joke out if ...
132 barstool_prof For those of you want the Rough Riders name resurr ...
133 mcdee1 All you people NOT in Ottawa and some that are hav ...
134 Smith041958 For all those postings suggesting Ottawa is not a ...
135 c_grismer COMING TO HALIFAX...should have been decided soone ...
136 greekgodzofice Has this Joke of a Leauge not gone on long enough? ...
137 timfrench Move the renegades to Halifax.Sure the satdium isn ...
138 joseph_gallant Could the suspension of the OPttawa Renegades be t ...
139 wpelech Well another chapter in the infamous history of pr ...
140 bigd08 The CFL is a business and we can not change what h ...
141 whositwhatnow What went wrong the Glieberman's went wrong. I do ...


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