'Gades owner making pitch

Renegades owner Bernie Glieberman (left) wants to do what he can to keep the team alive in Ottawa,...

Renegades owner Bernie Glieberman (left) wants to do what he can to keep the team alive in Ottawa, but not at any cost. (Ottawa Sun File/Sean Kilpatrick)

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

CFL governors are talking about Bernie Glieberman's exit as owner of the Ottawa Renegades not as a matter of if, but when.

And if Glieberman is to walk away from ownership of the team, governors would be left to decide -- in concert with the league -- the future of the franchise.

One source told the Sun yesterday a scenario being discussed among governors is a partnership with Glieberman for the coming season, in which the owner would cover the bulk of the team's losses, with each team pitching in to keep it going.

In the meantime, a search for new ownership would take place.

But some governors are also discussing a bleaker plan in which the club would have its operations suspended for the 2006 campaign and revived for the following season should a new owner be found.

It's believed Glieberman, who did not return calls from the Sun yesterday, wants to do what he can to keep the team alive in Ottawa, but not at any cost.

$5 MILLION IN LOSSES

It has been estimated the Renegades could lose at least $5 million during the 2006 season.

Sources say Glieberman has spoken to people about buying into the Renegades.

One person contacted is Glenn Straub of Wellington, Fla., a real estate developer and entrepreneur, but it's unlikely he would be interested.

The owner of the Palm Beach Polo & Country Club bought the Miami Arena in an auction for a reported $28 million US two years ago.

Straub was at his office in Florida yesterday, but did not speak directly to the Sun.

Through an e-mail from an assistant, Straub indicated he knows Glieberman and his son, Lonie, and that "they are respected businessmen."

Two years ago in a Florida publication, Straub said he bought a Florida business, Broward Yachts, "because it was there and unique and we buy things that need to be turned around."

That scenario could certainly be applied to the situation with the Renegades.

The team's ongoing saga took another turn earlier this week when word leaked that Glieberman was considering walking away from the club.

Earlier this month, Lonie Glieberman stepped aside as the team's business leader.

With few tickets being sold and little activity in corporate sales, Glieberman has been writing cheques to keep the team operating.

Meanwhile, minority owner Bill Smith, one of the club's founders, is hedging on his involvement with the team and has not given Glieberman an indication he would help shoulder the losses.

Smith did not returns calls from the Sun yesterday.

All the uncertainty is gaining attention from Renegades players.

Quarterback Kerry Joseph spoke of being discouraged after learning about the latest situation. Linebacker Jason Kralt, an original Renegade and Ottawa native, said he received several calls from teammates wondering what's going on.

PLAYERS 'WORRIED'

"Guys are worried. They're wondering if there's going to be a dispersal draft, if there's going to be local ownership," he said. "They've got a whole bunch of questions that deserve answers because their careers are in a state of flux."

Joseph, speaking from Orlando, Fla., said he's hoping the problems are solved.

"But it's disheartening because guys have signed contracts with the trust and belief that there'd be football in Ottawa. You think of family and livelihood right now because we don't know what the future's going to hold."

Meanwhile, the club is on the verge of a deal to hold training camp at Carleton University.

Players would stay at residences and have meals on campus, with practices being held at various Ottawa and Gatineau fields, including many sessions at Frank Clair Stadium. Camp is scheduled to begin May 21.


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