Confident in commish?

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:31 AM ET

In a move that will shock many observers, the powers-that-be have decided they do have the Wright man sitting in the CFL commissioner's office after all.

With speculation rampant that Tom Wright was about to become a lame-duck commissioner, the board of governors held a 90-minute teleconference call to evaluate the job that he has done thus far.

"The purpose of the call was to talk about the commissioner and do our due diligence," CFL chairman Tom Robinson said from Regina yesterday. "And we're going to negotiate an extension (to his current contract)."

Although those negotiations have not even started, Wright did ask for an extension. Robinson, who is also the Saskatchewan Roughriders governor, said the board has yet to decide how many years to add or how much of a raise to offer. Wright is reportedly paid $400,000 per annum on a pact that expires at the end of this season. Robinson is a member of a four-man committee that will start those negotiations with Wright when he returns from a vacation in France next week.

According to his contract, Wright needed to be informed of his future as commissioner as of May 23, 2005.

Robinson declined to say whether the vote was unanimous, but Wright reportedly needed seven of the nine governors to agree to keep him on.

A number of reports had suggested that B.C. Lions owner David Braley was leading an uprising to oust Wright as a response to the current ownership crisis in Ottawa and his insistence on establishing an enforceable salary cap.

"As a board, we are prepared to listen to each other," Robinson said. "If you listen, people can change their views on things and that's what happened here (yesterday)."

'MADE SENSE'

Robinson declined to disclose whether it was a heated debate.

"Based on our evaluation and on balance, at the end of the day, it just made sense to offer him an extension," he said. "You've got to look at evaluating a person for what a person does. If we didn't think he was doing a good job, we wouldn't be offering him an extension."

Winnipeg Blue Bombers governor Ken Hildahl, who participated in the call, politely declined comment, referring the matter to Robinson. However, on Tuesday he told The Sun that it would be "a horrendous mistake" to let Wright go.

The CFL also avoided another public relations disaster at a time when it needs stability in the CFL office.

"That may be true but that's not why we came to this conclusion," Robinson said.

Wright, who is the fifth commissioner to serve in the last nine years, was unavailable for comment while on vacation in France.


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