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Wednesday, February 2, 2000

WWF may unveil new football league

By PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

 The World Wrestling Federation tried to buy the Canadian Football League last year but was body-slammed by the board of directors.

  Now there is speculation the WWF plans to start its own league.

  CFL president Jeff Giles told The Toronto Sun yesterday he made a presentation to the board last October on behalf of the WWF.

  "The board decided for various reasons it wasn't something we wanted to pursue and we dropped it," Giles said.

  He said the WWF wanted to incorporate the CFL into a North American league with separate divisions for Canada and the U.S.

  "We were concerned we would lose control of the Canadian game," Giles said. "We would lose the CFL as we knew it."

  Giles said the CFL thought it more prudent to continue the relationship it established in 1997 with the NFL, which provided it with a $4-million loan. The NFL also has been active in providing the CFL with marketing and licensing expertise and a chance to allow contracted CFL players to sign with NFL teams.

  Giles said he approached the WWF in February 1999 about buying the Argos, who eventually were sold in December to New York insurance mogul Sherwood Schwarz. Giles said that escalated into the WWF wanting to buy the entire CFL.

  Giles had two meetings with WWF majority owner Vince McMahon Jr. Giles also had talks with Carl DeMarco, who is president of the WWF's Canadian arm, Titan Sports.

  ANNOUNCEMENT

  While the WWF was snubbed by the CFL, it may not have given up its football pursuit. The WWF will hold a news conference tomorrow in New York that has a tie-in to football. There are indications the WWF could announce plans to start an outdoor spring football league beginning next year.

  "You're going to be really surprised (tomorrow)," a wrestling source told The Sun. "This is Vince McMahon. His visions are big, not small. The interest started in Canada last year and it evolved into bigger things in the U.S."

  Giles said the WWF is "pretty creative" and wouldn't be surprised if it planned to start its own football league."

  If the WWF starts a spring league, it would clash with the indoor Arena League, which runs from March to August. The Arena League has 34 teams, including 16 that are starting this year in a developmental division.

 

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