Pay me or else: CFLer

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:10 AM ET

The Canadian Football League and its eight teams could have a financial fight on its hands from several players who had contracts with the now-defunct Ottawa Renegades.

The league folded the Ottawa operation on Sunday and declared yesterday there would be a dispersal of Renegades players tomorrow.

However, The Toronto Sun has learned there only are 45 names on the list, which is surprisingly low considering most teams have close to the 65-man limit they can bring to training camp, which begins May 21.

At least three players, whose contracts were publicly announced by the Renegades, are not on the list of 45. Offensive linemen Sandy Annunziata and Chris Burns, who were signed as free agents, and defensive lineman Johnny Scott, who re-signed with the team, are noticeably absent.

The issue is of such significance that several calls were placed by players or their representatives to the Canadian Football League Players Association yesterday following the announcement of the dispersal draft.

"If there's issues, we'll try to find out what these issues are we'll try to resolve them,"CFLPA president Stu Laird said.

Laird forwarded the concerns to CFLPA counsel Ed Molstad, who could not be reached for comment.

Annunziata, who played last year for the Grey Cup-winning Edmonton Eskimos, is particularly angry with the CFL, who was informed on March 24 his contract would not be registered but was not issued a reason.

"I don't know what information they were given back then that precluded them from registering the contract," Annunziata said last night. "I don't know the rationale behind these things, which ones they're going to register and which ones they aren't. It seems kind of arbitrary to me.

"It's going to go to arbitration and I'll win it and that's that," Annunziata vowed. "We have our own way (of) things (in the CFLPA).

"Someone has to put pressure on these guys to take responsibility for these contracts."

Under terms of the CFL and the CFLPA, all players with registered contracts will paid by the league, but if the contract never was registered it's a different matter.

"I don't know what agenda the CFL is working from," Annunziata said. "They can't pick and choose what contracts they register.

"If they think there's a way to indemnify themselves ... for not paying these contracts, they're fooling themselves. I would encourage (commissioner Tom Wright and chief operating officer Michael Copeland) to give me a call because, trust me, I will not be quiet and I will not go away.

"Signing bonuses are signing bonuses. They were negotiated in good faith and signed off by (Renegades director of football administration) Richard Wade, who they're now saying has no authority, which is b.s."

Neither Wright nor Copeland nor league spokesperson Alexis Redmond could be reached for comment.


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