VANCOUVER -- The commissioner of the Canadian Football League insists the Ottawa Renegades are not in peril.
In his annual state-of-the-league address, Tom Wright said the league remains committed to the franchise despite criticism of team president Lonie Glieberman.
Some of Glieberman's strategies on and off the field have raised eyebrows -- including a controversial Mardi Gras promotion that had sexual undertones and was subsequently abandoned after a short period -- and, most recently, the hiring of head coach John Jenkins, who has a checkered career.
Earlier this week a report surfaced claiming two governors were concerned with the state of the team and wanted Glieberman removed.
"The CFL is fully committed to the Ottawa market," Wright said. "Let's lay that to rest. The franchise is not at risk. Ownership is committed to Ottawa and to building this franchise into a successful, championship team. We are engaged with the team in a development of a 2006 plan and will be meeting with ownership after the Grey Cup in this regard. It is not unusual.
"Ownership (in Ottawa) wants to do this right and will do this right and we will be there to support them."
Wright highlighted four themes in his address:
- Salary management system;
- Instant replay,
- Expansion, and
- Franchise stability (of which the Ottawa situation is included).
Wright said the salary management system -- i.e. salary cap -- has many aspects to it more than just competitive expenditures. A committee has met several times and will be presenting recommendations to the board of governors for discussion, likely in January.
The board also will decide then whether to introduce instant replay next season.
As the league looks to expand east within a decade, Wright said an announcement will be made in the next few weeks identifying one of either Moncton, Halifax or Quebec City for a pre-season game next season. It's likely Montreal and Ottawa will play in Moncton.
Wright also defended the league's handling of the situation regarding Trevis Smith, the Saskatchewan Roughriders linebacker who is facing two separate charges of aggravated sexual assault for allegedly infecting two women with HIV. Neither the league nor the Roughriders disclosed that Smith was HIV-positive, it becoming public only when the RCMP announced it.
Wright said the league is developing a code of conduct for teams and players.
"The codes of conduct need to go just beyond our players," he said.