CFL replay on the way

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:23 AM ET

While it still needs final approval, the video replay system is all but a go for this year's Canadian Football League season.

The CFL board of governors has forwarded the plan to the league's competition committee to receive its stamp of approval.

Director of officiating George Black, who has been spearheading the video replay system, said yesterday there are still some aspects that have to be worked out.

He said the CFL model combines aspect of the U.S. college Big 12 Conference and the National Football League. The CFL will employ a technician and a video-replay official in a booth similar to the Big 12, but the final decision on the call will be made on the field by the referee, similar to the NFL.

Black said the exact number of challenges that will be available for each team is still under discussion, but challenges can be made at any point in the game. This differs from the NFL, which allows only the video-replay officials upstairs to challenge calls in the final two minutes of each half.

"We just felt the challenge mechanism was a better and more efficient way to go and to preserve the integrity of the game," Black said. "It's just a modest difference in philosophy."

While a manual has been prepared to explain the video-replay system, Black wants to create a DVD for some select plays that are "demonstrably reviewable" to help in the education process for teams and the media.

The system will rely heavily on television feeds -- it's estimated that all but one of the games is scheduled to be televised -- and in the absence of TV replays, the scoreboard replays will be used.

"We think we've got a system that will work and we'll try to get it as polished as we can," Black said.

ARGOS LIKE SCHEDULE

The 2006 CFL schedule is apparently close to being unveiled and it will feature the Argos playing at home predominantly on Fridays and Saturdays. They will play only two games crammed together in a short span of days and that will be the back-to-back games against Hamilton on Labour Day, followed by the return date the following Saturday at the Rogers Centre.

WESTWOOD SPEAKS OUT

Winnipeg's outspoken kicker Troy Westwood told the Winnipeg Sun he doesn't like the aspect of the new salary management system that allows players to be "whistle- blowers" on teams that cheat on contracts.

"Pay players to rat on their own teams? Good luck with that. That's atrocious," he said. "Any man worth his salt is not going to rat on the organization that helped him put food on his family's table."

TOUCHDOWN ATLANTIC II

It's expected to be announced shortly that Ottawa and Montreal will play a pre-season game in Halifax as part of the CFL's continued efforts to add an expansion franchise before the end of the decade. The Argos played against Hamilton in Halifax last year.

Halifax is the leading contender, if only because of the possibility it is going after the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The host city will be announced in Nov., 2007.


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