New wrinkles to CFL cap

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

It's being described as a Made-In-Canada system for the Canadian Football League and it's designed to level the competitive playing field and provide cost certainty.

The CFL's much-anticipated salary management system, which the board of directors passed Tuesday, goes beyond the salary cap, which will be boosted to $3.8 million this year from $2.6 million last year.

The system has a 14-point plan, complete with compliance officials to make sure the system is adhered to. There also is a reward system for players if they want to blow the whistle on infractions.

"The new salary management system is designed for the long term," commissioner Tom Wright said in a conference call from Scottsdale, Ariz.

Wright is in the final year of a contract that was extended by only one year last year, and there is a belief that his long-term future hinged on his ability to convince the board to adopt this plan.

"We fully expect (the system) to survive all of us and represent a new landmark of how our business will be managed and how we will be able to provide that level of competitive balance for our fans and ensure that foundation of economic stability for our clubs going forward."

"It's truly a Made-In-Canada solution to our needs," Calgary Stampeders owner Tom Hellard said.

The system won't commence until next season because teams already have been spending this year.

The proposal received approval from the governors on Tuesday by a vote of 7-2, one more than the minimum. It's believed neither Montreal owner Robert Wetenhall nor B.C. counterpart David Braley, who have been critical of Wright's management, were in favour of changing the current system.

The salary cap needed an adjustment because $2.6 million became an unrealistic figure. Though none of the teams' total player expenditures from last year were disclosed, it was revealed that it averaged out to a figure of $3.7 million.

"We've developed a number that all teams believe they are capable of putting a quality, competitive product on the field with and that's the biggest part of a salary-management system," Hellard said.

All contracts will require a certificate signed by the team's owner, chief executive officer, general manager or personnel director who did the deal, the player and a representative such as an agent or lawyer if one is used. The certificates, which will be filed with the league and analyzed, are not notarized documents.

"Do I believe that people won't try to figure somethings out (to violate the system)? Of course they will," Hellard said. "Do I think we can keep them in check? Absolutely. Do I think this system will continue to morph and modify? Yes it will. It's a matter of baby steps. We have to start in the right direction."


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