Last Week XFL Markcast had TSN’s Farhan Lalji on the show to talk about the current XFL/CFL situation. As much as we hear about some in the CFL Community against the proposed merger, Lalji is for it.
“And I’m certainly on the side of it being a good thing. I think they need to explore it. I certainly believe a lot in RedBird, in The Rock, and Dany Garcia, regardless of what the history of spring football or non-NFL NCAA football has been in the US, I just don’t believe that because it hasn’t worked before that it can never work again.
Too many people want to just look at the situation and say it’ll never be. The NFL does. For sure, it’s not going to be the NFL, but it can still be pretty profitable and successful and exciting and new. And I think that’s what the Canadian Football League needs.”
When asked about the expected April 20th announcement posted on Twitter by Dave Naylor, Lalji goes into it further and says he expects a 2021 CFL season to happen.
“We expect there to be an announcement on the 20th, and that’s because the federal budget up here is released on the 19th. And I think there’s going to be some wage subsidy clarity, some clarity on programs around wage subsidy and how that might impact the league.
So the president, the owners, the governors, they’re meeting all this week. And I think we’re going to get an announcement on the 20th. Are there shortly thereafter that there is going to be a delay? Do I think the season is going to happen? I absolutely think the season is going to happen.”
He thinks we will get more than just an announcement on the 20th that the season will be delayed, he believes it will be more specific.
“I think the league wants to be able to say more than simply, there’s going to be a delay. Now, does that mean they’re going to say, absolutely, July 1st, we’re starting one hundred percent? No, they can’t do that because there is no 100 percent when it comes to the virus.
They’re close to getting their safety protocols approved. We’ve got to get that done. But I think, you might see a bit more of a hard commitment to play.
You might see some other targeted dates that, look, we’d like to get started by this date because they’ve been reluctant to do that, because if you do that and all of a sudden you’re forced to deal with it and there’s more pressure.
So I do think we’re going to play I think we’re going to get some more clarity on that in the middle of next week.”
The CFL has always been in financial troubles throughout its history. Lalji drops this interesting story while he was covering the BC Lions and money came in a paper bag.
“in the 90s I was here when payroll arrived one week in a brown paper bag like I was at the Lions offices when that actually happened.
I was there when players used to sprint to the bank the second the checks came because they wanted to make sure their checks cashed.
Now, that was twenty-five years ago. That was a different league. But I’ve seen the comings and goings enough, as have many of the media that are kind of on the other side of how they want to portray all of this. So I do believe the financial concerns are real.”
He talks about why the merger with the XFL is more than just the money that RedBird Capital has. It is what the experience RedBird, Dany Garica, and The Rock bring to the table.
“there’s a number of different ways that you can grow the game. And I think that’s what the CFL is looking at when they see RedBird and when they see The Rock and they just think that some of those entities, forget the XFL.
We’re talking about the people who are potentially going to own the XFL. Some of the things that they have done that they just might be farther ahead. They just might be more equipped and they understand how to do it. And I think that’s what appeals to the governors up here to try to pursue every opportunity here with collaborating.”
Great interview with Farhan Lalji by Paul and Reid. There is so much more he talks about including his initial thoughts of the XFL, the CFL’s TV contract, and more.
You can watch the full interview here;
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July 1st is a reasonable start date for a 16 game season. The CFL doesn’t have to give up 3 down football to merge with the XFL.