Photo: Jonathan Hayward, The canadian Press
The commissioner of the CFL, Randy Ambrosie, did not want to deny or confirm a transaction is imminent.
The Alouettes and canadian football League are stingy with comments about the possible purchase of the montreal club.
The daily newspaper The Gazette reported Wednesday morning that the team, owned by american businessman Robert Wetenhall since 1997, would be on the verge of being sold to interests in quebec.
The organization has demonstrated mutism, limiting themselves to saying that the team ” will not comment on rumors “.
On the side of the CFL, commissioner, Randy Ambrosie, to Montreal for a series of meetings with the holders of the subscriptions of the clubs in the circuit, did not want to deny or confirm a transaction is imminent.
“We had discussions with [the president] Patrick Boivin and with the family Wetenhall about what we needed to do to restore its lustre to this organization, he said. This market is one of the most important for us, and he is one of the most important markets for sports in the country.
“This conversation is very positive. It lasts for several months. […] Wetenhall want to explore all possible scenarios. What they really want, it’s that this franchise be successful. “
One thing is certain for the league : it was not the intention of the concession is leaving Montreal so that investors are trying to lead the CFL in Halifax.
“What we want is a 10th team in Halifax, not to see one of our nine courses move there,” said the commissioner.
Lapointe still interested
The ex-door-colors of the Alouettes, Eric Lapointe had expressed interest to acquire the club in 2017. His offer was however rejected by Wetenhall. He confirmed on Wednesday to be still interested.
If it specifies have not recently discussed this project with Wetenhall or his son — Andrew, co-owner and governor of the Larks — the man 44-year-old, who now works in financial management, ensures to be able to put together a group quickly.
“I don’t think that it would be difficult to gather people interested, he said to The canadian Press. There are many more business owners in francophone than in the past. […] There are many people who would like to be involved.
“It is, of course, I’m a fan of football, but I do not seek a job. I love what I do and I only have good words about the Wetenhall and what they have done for our city. “
Robert Wetenhall took over the concession of the Alouettes in 1997. She was then in bankruptcy and the league had withdrawn from the hands of Michael Gelfand. Wetenhall was then sponged the debts of the organization, even if it was not legally required to do so, and has re-launched.
Under his leadership, the team quickly became one of the powers of the canadian tour. From 1999 to 2012, the Alouettes finished atop the East nine times and participated in eight finals of the Grey Cup, winning the ultimate game in three opportunities.
The team did not, however, reached the grand final of the CFL since 2010 and has had only three seasons ,500 or better since. The Alouettes have missed the playoffs the last four campaigns, compiling a record of 25-51.
Last November, in an interview with The canadian Press, Andrew Wetenhall has repeated that the club was not for sale, even if he and his father are worried about the performance of the team, both on the field and at the wickets.
“The sale of tickets is down. It has a real impact on our organization, first of all financial. We invest a lot in this team […] so yes, we are worried by this lack of support, he said. As we are unable to fill our stands as before, so that it is more difficult to attract players in our market.
“It has never been a company that has been making money since we are the owners, he added. […] Almost every year, we need to re-inject the money in order to pay for the costs of the team. We have not been profitable when we hosted a Grey Cup game.
“Yes, it has to make sense financially. But I will not tell you at what point it is, because I don’t want to give numbers. I will say, however, that we want to bring back that franchise to a point where it is viable. This means, therefore, have a lot more people in the stands that currently. “