The CFL has told the Blue Bombers they cannot host a Grey Cup until they enclose the stadium’s press box and is working with the club to have that done sooner rather than later.
The league is sending a delegation to Winnipeg to have a closer look at the press box and to try and come up with solutions. One bit of good news on this front is the league won’t prevent the Bombers from hosting a playoff game this season should the club earn that right.
The East Division semifinal would be played on Nov. 10 and an outdoor press box would obviously be problematic at that time of the year in Winnipeg.
The league understands this and while they won’t prevent the Bombers from hosting a playoff game this year should that scenario unfold, they will be pressuring the club to come to a quick fix.
CFL spokesperson Jamie Dykstra responded to some questions from the Free Press via email.
"The Commissioner attended (Wednesday) night’s game at Investors Group Field. He was extremely impressed with the new stadium and was raving about it to us and to fans via Twitter," wrote Dykstra. "He does have concerns about the press box and is in discussions with the Blue Bombers about making improvements. (As you may know, the Bombers are already on record as saying they plan to rectify the situation in a Grey Cup year, should they be awarded a Grey Cup. So the press box is not a barrier to being given the green light to host a Grey Cup game sometime down the road.) You asked whether the Bombers can host a playoff game with that press box in its current state. We will not prevent the team from hosting a playoff game if they earn that right on the field. But we do intend to continue to express our concern over the press box issue in the coming weeks."
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said his league would simply absorb the cost of creating its own indoor press box if Winnipeg was granted an outdoor game and the situation had not been rectified.
"We put a lot of money into fitting out stadiums," said Daly. "Part of the cost of doing business. Not a big deal."
Bombers CEO Garth Buchko sent the following response to the Free Press through the team’s communications department.
"We are very much aware the press box is an issue that will need to be addressed and we have full intentions of doing so in due course," read the emailed statement.