OTTAWA -- The Canadian Football League is now on course to proudly add a ninth team in the nation's capital in time for the 2014 season, Commissioner Mark Cohon announced today.
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"Today's positive City of Ottawa council vote means a beautiful new stadium and as early as 2014, a proud new franchise that will make its community proud and our league even stronger," Cohon said.
"This is a great day for our league and, for all of us who understand its' important place in the culture of Canada, a great day for our country."
By a vote of 21 to 3 this morning, Ottawa City Council decided to proceed with plans proposed by the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group to transform Frank Clair Stadium into a leading sports facility and surround it with an exciting new residential and retail complex.
"Our dream of a Canadian Football League franchise, which has always been the heart of this plan, is becoming a reality and we are absolutely thrilled and humbled," said Roger Greenberg of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG).
"Now it's time to accelerate the important work of not only building a landmark destination that inspires and excites our city and region, but a business organization and football team that can and will compete for the Grey Cup."
OSEG includes Greenberg, Chairman and CEO of The Minto Group, John Ruddy, President of Trinity Development Group, Bill Shenkman, Chairman of the Shenkman Group of Companies, John Pugh, CEO and Owner of the Ottawa Fury Soccer Club, and Jeff Hunt, Owner and Governor of the Ottawa 67s, a leading member of the OHL.
Now that the stadium proposal has passed every legal and political test with flying colours, the process is underway to make Ottawa a full partner in the CFL.
As long as stadium construction remains on schedule, Ottawa will be eligible to select four underclassmen from the NCAA, commonly known as redshirts, in the 2013 CFL Canadian Draft. The Ottawa Expansion Draft will be in December, 2013.
Ottawa is also scheduled to be eligible to have a representative join the CFL Board of Governors as a full voting member in January, 2014, and to fully participate in the CFL Canadian Draft in Spring, 2014.
"The Board of Governors and I fully appreciate what this means to our fans in Ottawa and across the country and we share their excitement," Cohon said.
"We have pursued expansion to Ottawa in a prudent and businesslike manner, determined to ensure we had the right owners and the proper conditions in place for success in the nation's capital, which will ultimately make all of our teams stronger. I am confident that, with today's news, we are achieving our goals."