No need to rush

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:45 AM ET

This one's bigger than Lyle Bauer.

The former lineman and current president/CEO of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers has taken on some formidable opponents over the years -- none bigger than the near collapse of the team in 2000 -- but Bauer says he won't be weighing in on David Asper's stadium and privatization proposal.

This one's in the hands of his superiors -- the volunteer board of directors that oversees the operation of the club on behalf of the community.

"I will not give an opinion," Bauer said yesterday, calling it "probably the most important decision in the history of the football club.

"Absolutely it is. It's a large responsibility. This isn't just a simple business transaction. When it comes to a decision of this magnitude and its much larger, or more profound, ramifications, that's where management doesn't get involved."

FATE OF TEAM

What makes this decision so critical: the idea of taking the fate of a team that's been community-owned for 76 years and placing it in the hands of one man.

Bauer says his job was to inform board members of what the team needed to become self-sufficient in the future.

The options he's laid out include a new or refurbished facility, as well as partnerships with the private sector.

Asper, a former Bomber board chair, is the first to come forward with a proposal.

The local businessman has reportedly given the Bombers three months to come up with a decision, but both Bauer and chairman Ken Hildahl say there's no need to rush it.

"We didn't go to the market and say we want to sell this team," Hildahl said. "So I don't feel any pressure to meet a deadline. But we owe it to our fans to do a due diligence and proper analysis."

"I'm not sure the time is etched in stone, on either side," added Bauer.

This could also be the start of a long negotiation between the Bombers, Asper and the proponents of other deals who may come forward -- not to mention the three levels of government.

"That's the view most parties coming to the table will take," Hildahl said. "I'd be hard-pressed to see the various levels of government ... seeing this as the end point."


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