Salary exaggerated: CFL

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:57 AM ET

If the Toronto Argonauts are paying Ricky Williams close to half a million dollars this season, they're doing much of it under the table.

CFL commissioner Tom Wright says the running back's official contract is worth much less than $500,000, the amount reported by Sun Media this week.

"The contract that I registered was not that," Wright, in Winnipeg for a Grey Cup event, said yesterday. "All I can tell you is it was not remotely close to that."

Numerous other reports have pegged Williams' salary at around $240,000.

Of course, CFL teams have been notorious for not registering all player payments in their official contracts, thereby circumventing the league's salary cap guidelines.

That was all supposed to change this season, with the league implementing a $3.8 million cap as part of a new "salary management system," that also included sweeping changes to the rules governing rosters and injury lists.

HIT A SNAG

The deal hit a snag two weeks ago, though, when it failed to pass a vote by league governors.

Wright, though, says it's not dead.

"I don't think it's been shelved," he said.

"When you make all those kinds of changes, there are rules, regulations, a collective agreement, a constitution that has to be adjusted ... and there was one club that had some concerns with some of the language.

"We've addressed those concerns and we'll be bringing it to the board of governors here in a couple of weeks for approval."

The board meets here on June 13, three days before the start of the regular season.

Wright says the league is in the process of hiring salary cap enforcement officers, whose job will be to investigate whether teams are following the rules.

Penalties for overspending aren't to be enforced until the 2007 season, opening the door for teams to ignore the rules for one more year.

The Argos have said Williams' contract fits under the salary cap.


Videos

Photos