CFL asking for Grey Cup funds


Most wouldn’t put a price tag on a national celebration like the Canadian Football League has done.

Calling the 100th Grey Cup a festival of Canadian culture, the CFL is requesting $12 million from the federal government to help fund the Toronto-hosted game that will take place in 2012.

“$12 million is a modest amount in terms of money made available for cultural events,” Chris Rudge, head of the 2012 Grey Cup organizing committee, told the Globe and Mail. “If we can get $12 million, we’ve got some pretty exciting events for all Canadians to participate in.

“It would allow us to expand the number of events held within the city, concerts and involve the entire cultural community, things that happen in Caribana or Gay Pride. And we want to see this done across the country as well, and see more people come to Toronto and rally the way we saw people rally around the [Olympic] Games in Vancouver.”

The former CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) Rudge, along with CFL commissioner Mark Cohon will head to Ottawa on Wednesday to appear in front of a House of Commons finance committee to discuss the matter.

Joining the executive duo will be a pair of CFL greats, Michael “Pinball” Clemons and Pierre Vercheval, as well as the Grey Cup itself.

In order to convince Parliament Hill, Rudge and company will need all the persuasive firepower they can find, especially because a pro sporting event is a tough sell for federal subsidization.

However, his time with the COC may serve him well because of the success of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

He will probably use that experience as his main selling point.

“[The Grey Cup is] the single biggest cultural event in Canada and something we’d like to share with the country, not just the local community,” Rudge said.

“The Olympic experience taught a lot of us what major sporting events can do to transform our country and our communities and we’re taking those lessons to the 100th Grey Cup.”