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Report: CanPL seeking financial assistance from government amid COVID-19 crisis

The CPL’s sophomore season has been delayed and financial concerns are rising

CPL: Canadian Premier League Finals
Forge FC players celebrate after defeating Cavalry FC during a Canadian Premier League soccer final match at Spruce Meadows.
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports for CPL

A day after the CFL asked the Canadian government for financial assistance, the Canadian Premier League became the second professional sports league in the country to look to Ottawa for economic support on Wednesday.

According to a report from Neil Davidson of the Canadian Press, the CPL is seeking roughly $15 million from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Co. to get through the temporary concerns being caused by cancelled games and a resulting lack of revenue.

CPL commissioner David Clanachan previously assured fans earlier this month these times would be a challenge for the league rather than its demise.

“As in any business, you do what you have to do and adjust as you go. But we’re in this for the long run,” said Clanachan in an interview with The Canadian Press. “This is a long game here and we’re very focused about what we’re going to build and the legacy we will leave going forward. That’s not changed at all.”

Since then, he admits the league is feeling the financial affects of late more than ever, and as such the CPL opted to reach out for the necessary support on Wednesday.

“It gets tougher and tougher every day that goes by,” Clanachan told the Canadian Press.

The league had already made adjustments to try and accommodate to the ongoing COVID situation which included 25 per cent wage deductions for players as well as undisclosed cuts to the paychecks of coaches, technical staff, and other league employees.

Following the Canadian Football League’s cry for help, Trudeau didn’t rule out providing some support to the league and called the discussions “ongoing.”

Were the government to help the CFL get through the next few months, assistance for the CPL might be plausible as the figure Clanachan is asking for is but a fraction of the $150 million CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie hopes to secure for his league in the case of a completely cancelled 2020 season.

The CPL’s sophomore campaign was set to kick off on April 11 but has since been postponed indefinitely, while the CFL has postponed training camps and aims for a July regular season start at the earliest.

Both leagues face unique circumstances in restarting action with all their respective teams located within Canada unlike Major League Soccer and most other major North American leagues.

If the situation continues to improve across the country, the CPL and the CFL could resume before leagues based within the US if Canadian health officials deemed it safe to do so.

For now, the goal of salvaging a second Canadian Premier League season remains far from the top priority, a reality Clanachan recognizes.

“Some things are bigger than football,” he told Davidson.