MONTREAL – Should Montreal Alouettes fans be worried about the future of the team? Will local investors join the organization? These are just two of the many questions that needed to be asked of CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie.
Let’s immediately address the issue of local investors, a pressing need for Alouettes who are evolving into a market unique to Canada. The departure of Gary Stern – who owns 25% of the team – from the day-to-day management of the club seems to be an opportunity to put things right.
We put the question to Ambrosie, who met earlier this week with representatives of the majority shareholders of Alouettes, which owns 75% of the shares, the portion that belonged to Sid Spiegel, who has since died. However, if we are to trust his words, patience will be required. But we can still feel an opening.
“We have not discussed a change in ownership at all. Soon they will tell us who will represent the Alouette among the governors, ”he answered first.
But would you view such an addition with a positive eye?
“Right now, we are focusing on the current portrait. That said, I’m sure there will be discussions on several positive possibilities. For now, we have a commitment from the owners and that continues to be the most important thing,” Ambrosie added.
During the interview, the CFL commissioner repeatedly insisted on the positive content of the contact with the representatives of the majority owners.
“The discussion was very encouraging and constructive. They had three messages to share: nothing changes for the team, their priority is to win games and entertain the fans. They had a clear vision of their plan. They have a professional and caring approach,” Ambrosie summed up.
Still, in the world of sports, when an owner dies, the estate, in most cases, ends up selling the team.
“I cannot claim that I know the future. But right now I have a positive connection with them. I assured them that we were going to have a very professional relationship with them. If both parties act like this, it can generate great possibilities in the long term”, argued Ambrosie.
And do you expect a more harmonious coexistence with them compared to the brief and stormy passage with Stern?
“What I can say is that I want the relationship established this week to continue along the same lines,” said Ambrosie, who took a few moments to highlight Stern’s involvement in the difficult times of the pandemic.
A reason to fear the worst?
I can’t blame Ambrosie for wanting to point out the bright side. However, the sale of the Alouettes had been quite a hassle, leading to the club’s takeover by Stern and Spiegel in early 2020.
The early turnaround of Stern’s retirement has many Alouettes fans fearing the worst. Even seasoned journalists like Dave Naylor and Farhan Lalji of TSN I think the fears are justified.
“I have great respect for his work, but I disagree. Rather I think the future is very promising in Montreal. In my opinion, the Alouettes are moving in the right direction. With the work done by the CFL in the last two years, it will help the Alouettes and other organizations based in big cities. Quebec is a great soccer market and the Alouettes have a great history there,” Ambrosie replied.
“Since the CFL is better structured to support its teams, I am more positive. We see great stories like Nathan Rourke blowing the CFL away,” he continued.
“That does not mean that everything is going to be done easily, we will have to manage our entity well”, the commissioner finally agreed.
Let’s not forget that the Alouettes have been losing money, a few million a year, for several years. A portrait that will not provoke an avalanche of investors from Quebec to buy the entire club.
On Friday, Ambrosie will be in Montreal for the Alouettes’ game against the Ottawa Redblacks. This visit has been planned for weeks, but it comes at an opportune time.
We would have liked to end our interview on a happier note. But it was essential to investigate Ambrosie about the file involving Christophe Normand, who was released by the Alouettes after being suspended.
“Obviously, whenever a case involves an off-field incident, the CFL always consults with the team involved. This is a very serious and worrying incident, I would like to say that the CFL sends its thoughts to the young woman’s family”, concluded the commissioner.
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