Canadian Football League

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

News from The Canadian Football League annual meeting

The CFL board of governors approved a salary management system and instant replay for this season at its annual meeting in Winnipeg on Tuesday.
A franchise committee was also formed to find new owners for the suspended Ottawa franchise and look at future expansion, but whether commissioner Tom Wright will be around if the Renegades return to the field next season remains up in the air.
"My position, my tenure, was not on the agenda for discussion so let's move on to the matters that are really the most important," Wright said at the beginning of his press conference.
Last week, the Globe and Mail, citing unidentified league sources, reported that league governors had informed Wright that his contract wouldn't be renewed once it expires after this year's Grey Cup in Winnipeg on Nov. 19.
The board had given him a one-year extension last year, rebuffing his request for a long-term contract. The former president of Adidas Canada became commissioner in November, 2002.
The board also elected Winnipeg's Gene Dunn as its chairman and Hamilton Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young as its vice-chairman.
Wright said several groups, including local ones, have come forward about Ottawa and they are absolutely legitimate. While the plan is to have a decision by September on Ottawa's return for next season, it's important to evaluate potential owners and make the right decision rather than the quickest one, he said.
One of Wright's projects has been the development of a salary management system, which was approved by the board last January, but put on hold last month for some revisions.
The salary cap for each CFL team this season is $3.8 million, up from the $2.6 million clubs was suppose to operate under last season. However, penalties for exceeding the cap won't take effect until next season and the amount of the cap will be decided each year, Wright said.
"The new system is a fundamental foundation for our league and for our member clubs to ensure that we have competitive balance, that we have parity on a level playing field and that we have cost certainty for our teams," he said.
Part of ensuring that includes "salary transparency with a central
repository of records" and the hiring of compliance officers.
"At the end of every year, each clubs' expenditures for salaries will be published," Wright said, adding that will be total salaries, not individual player amounts.
When penalties do come into play next year, theyll include fines and loss of draft selections.
Teams who finish the season $100,000 over the cap will be fined $1 for each dollar they're over. For those between $100,000 and $300,000 over, the fines increase to $2 for each dollar over along with a first-round draft pick.
Teams exceeding the cap by $300,000 or more will be fined $3 for each dollar over and also lose a first- and second-round pick.
Wright said governors unanimously agreed to implement instant replay this season after it was tested during the pre-season.
"In the pre-season, I think there were somewhere in the neighbourhood of 20 calls and I believe 19 of them were found to be correct on the field," Wright said.
"We've always felt that our officials have made the right call, but this provides just some extra added element to ensure that the integrity of the game is protected and we get the call right."
The first game to use the system will be Montreal's season opener at home Friday against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Each team will be allowed to execute two challenges per game prior to the last three minutes of the second half. The first challenge will have no impact on team timeouts, regardless of the outcome. But the second, if unsuccessful, will result in the loss of a team timeout, either in the first half or the second half.
In the last three minutes of second half or in overtime, all instant replay reviews will be initiated by the replay official in the CFL supervisors' booth.
All replay reviews will be conducted by a referee on the field using a field-level monitor. The official will have a maximum of 90 seconds inside the video booth to make a decision.


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