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Rick Zamperin: Canadian Football League bailout request irks women in sport

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie has asked the federal government for a multi-million dollar bail out amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie has asked the federal government for a multi-million dollar bail out amid the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

The Canadian Football League‘s request for up to $150 million from the federal government should it be forced to cancel its 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic has created shockwaves across the country in more ways than one.

Supporters of the league are hoping to see the Trudeau government give the league the cash it is hoping for after commissioner Randy Ambrosie said the long-term future of the CFL would be in peril if the 2020 season was mothballed.

READ MORE: Rick Zamperin: CFL tosses up a ‘Hail Mary’ that it hopes Prime Minister Trudeau will answer

$30 million of the CFL’s request would be used immediately to manage the financial impact the pandemic has had on the league.

The request has also spurred other leagues, namely the Canadian Premier League and the Canadian Elite Basketball League — two leagues that have been idled before they could launch into their second year of existence — to ask the feds for a loan of $15 million and $5 million, respectively.

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Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says ‘discussions ongoing’ with CFL over possible financial support
Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says ‘discussions ongoing’ with CFL over possible financial support

The CPL is asking the government for $15 million while the CEBL wants $5 million.

The story has certainly caught the attention of former players and executives with the now defunct Canadian Women’s Hockey League, which was left to die without receiving any help from Ottawa.

Former CWHL Commissioner Jayna Hefford told the Canadian Press “there were conversations” with the federal government last spring about an aid package worth only hundreds of thousands of dollars that would have saved the financially strapped league from going belly up.

READ MORE: Does the CFL need federal funding to survive the COVID-19 pandemic? Sports economist raises questions

You can’t blame the people associated with the CWHL for seeing red after learning about the CFL’s bloated bail out request, given the fact that the football league wouldn’t pay a cent of it back.

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If Ottawa financially supports the CFL, CPL and CEBL — after it didn’t do the same for the CWHL — it would be a horrible look for a government that is led by a self-proclaimed feminist and would send a message that women’s sports don’t matter.

Go ahead, Mr. Prime Minister. The ball is virtually in your court.