The quagmire that has defined the Argonauts’ ownership issue finally might be close to clearing up.
Though Argos president Bob Nicholson on Friday refused to discuss specifics, clear answers for fans and the Canadian Football League could be just around the corner.
“It’s in the best interests of the club and the league that (ownership) be resolved quickly and I anticipate it will be,” Nicholson said.
A resolution could come early next week.
David Braley, the owner of the B.C. Lions, lent Argos co-owners David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski a financial hand when they rescued the Argos from bankruptcy in 2003. One theory is that Braley wanted either his money back — said to be in the $6 million range — or be given the option of taking over the Argos.
Cynamon and Sokolowski apparently did not want to bring Braley on as a partner, and now he could be on the verge of becoming the sole owner. There doesn’t appear to be another candidate to take the ownership reigns.
Cynamon and Sokolowski have been trying for much of the off-season to bring a partner on board. A source indicated on Friday that among the people the pair approached was Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz, who said he was not interested.
The CFL does not have any rules against one person owning two teams, but it’s a stop-gap situation that would not exist in a perfect world.
Nicholson confirmed that no decision on general manager Adam Rita, nor on a new head coach, will be made until the ownership issue is settled. Among the candidates for coach are Montreal Alouettes offensive co-ordinator Scott Milanovich, former Winnipeg Blue Bombers coach Doug Berry, Calgary Stampeders defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones and Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall.
Milanovich and Berry have been interviewed, but Nicholson said the Argos had not finished talking to the candidates.
With free agency opening on Feb. 16, the Argos will be in a hurry to get their football operations side in order. In going 7-29 in the past two seasons combined, the Argos missed the playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time since 2000-01.
If Rita is relieved of his GM duties, he could be kept on in a player personnel role. The names of former Saskatchewan Roughriders GM Eric Tillman and Stampeders director of player personnel Jim Barker have been mentioned as possible replacements if Rita is done.
Interestingly, had Barker been hired as GM of the Bombers instead of Joe Mack, his first choice for coach reportedly would have been Milanovich.