'Give me a break'

CanWest Global Communications executive VP David Asper, a former chairman of the Winnipeg Blue...

CanWest Global Communications executive VP David Asper, a former chairman of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, has denied an interest in purchasing the Ottawa Renegades. (Ottawa Sun/Brian Donogh)

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

An irate David Asper denied that he is looking into becoming a Renegade owner.

A member of the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers board of governors, Asper took issue with a report in yesterday's Sun that he would be interested in buying the money-losing Ottawa franchise.

"Yes, of course I'm interested in the Ottawa Renegades," Asper responded indignantly yesterday. "If that franchise folds, we'd (Bombers) be back in the East. So, of course I'm interested. But, to buy them? Give me a break.

"There's no truth to it at all."

Sources had told Sun Media that Asper, the executive vice-president of CanWest Global Communications, had discussed the possibility with CFL commissioner Tom Wright. And Wright, in fact, was encouraging him to pursue that interest.

"The only thing that I can imagine is that Tom (Wright), (Renegades co-owner) Randy (Gillies) and I had breakfast during the (Coach of the Year) meetings and someone saw us," Asper said. "But we were just shooting the sh--.

COULD TAKE OVER

"We (CanWest Global) do own the Ottawa Citizen, which is a major sponsor (of the Renegades), and people have suggested that the Citizen could take over as owners one day. But that's not going to happen. I don't know where this came from."

The Citizen could not make that purchase independently of CanWest, he said.

Although Asper said the Bombers board did not express concern, Bomber governor Gene Dunn did call him as soon as he read the story just to check.

"I talked to him immediately," Dunn said. "As a board, we've talked about what's going on around the league and I've talked to David about Ottawa. But there was never any indication that he was going to buy the club. And if I thought there was any truth to it, I'd tell ya.

"But David's our biggest supporter. He's our biggest fan and he shows it. And you would think he'd be more interested in buying his home club."

The Bombers are a community-run franchise and Asper is still an integral part of the group that has been rescuing the local cub financially.

The Renegades ownership is in a mess, with one partner wanting out and the others willing to leave for the right price. On top of that, GM Eric Tillman was not wanted back and president Brad Watters is reportedly on the verge of bailing ship.


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