Source: Clifford Starke No Longer In Running To Buy CFL's Alouettes
Montreal businessman Clifford Starke is now "out of the running" to purchase the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, according to a source cited by Dan Ralph of the CP. Former Alouettes Owner Bob Wetenhall on Friday "sold the franchise to the league, ending the American businessman's 20-plus year ownership of the club." The CFL also announced that it has been "involved in Montreal's day-to-day operations in recent months." The league and Wetenhall have been "looking for a new owner for several months." A source said that the process is still "ongoing." Starke in April announced his "intent to purchase the Alouettes." Now with Starke "no longer in the running" and Montreal entrepreneur Vincenzo Guzzo "recently putting his interest in the franchise on hold, it's unclear exactly what parties remain in the mix to purchase the club." Canadian Football HOFer Eric Lapointe "stated repeatedly he could put together an ownership group if approached." However, he has publicly said that he has "not been contacted" (CP, 6/1).
DESERVED BETTER: In Montreal, Jack Todd wrote the Alouettes' sale to the CFL is a "pathetic ending to a great run" following Wetenhall's takeover in '97 of a "struggling franchise." It "took patience, but the Alouettes would go on to a decade-long reign as the Beast of the East, with eight Grey Cup appearances and three championships" between '00-10. Todd: "The Bob Wetenhall I know would never have bowed out in silence, whatever else. That in itself is enormously sad, because Wetenhall gave this city a very good team for a good long stretch." He "poured heart, soul and dollars into this franchise and this is not how he would wish it to end" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 6/3).