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League investigating Alouettes' protest over loss to Lions

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The Canadian Press
9/8/2009 10:37:45 PM
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SURREY, B.C. -- The Canadian Football League is investigating the Montreal Alouettes' protest over their 19-12 weekend loss to the B.C. Lions, the league said Tuesday.

"We are reviewing the events cited by the Alouettes very carefully, speaking with all of the officials involved, including the on-field crew, the supervisor and the replay official," Michael Copeland, the CFL's chief operating officer, said in a statement.

The Alouettes were angry that a touchdown scored by Montreal running back Avon Cobourne late in the fourth quarter was negated. The touchdown would have cut B.C.'s lead to one point with the convert still to come.

It was a confusing end to a close game Friday night.

The Lions took the lead with 2:30 left on a touchdown.

Montreal then took the ball and marched to the B.C. eight-yard line.

Facing a third-and-one, Montreal gambled. It was close whether the Als had gained the first down, but the officials said B.C. had called a time-out before the play started.

On the next play, Cobourne ran around the left side for an apparent touchdown, but there was a flag on the field. The officials said a whistle had been blown on the field after the stadium supervisor paged officials to stop the play in order to check the game clock to make sure the proper amount of time remained.

The clock was not changed and Montreal went to the line for a third time. This time Cobourne was stopped short and the ball was turned over to B.C. on downs. The Lions were then able to run out the clock for the win.

"I can understand Montreal's point," Wally Buono, the Lions coach and general manager, said after practice Tuesday. "The league has issued a statement on it. I think it's best to just leave it at that."

B.C. linebacker JoJuan Armour said some players on both sides pulled up on the touchdown, thinking the play had been blown dead.

"There was a lot of confusion on the field, on their side of the ball too," said Armour.

Lions defensive lineman Aaron Hunt said it was a bad way for a game to be decided.

"It looked bad either way," he said. "I don't know what happened still to this day.

"I was out there and thought `this is crazy."'

Copeland said any protest must be accompanied by a $5,000 deposit.

For the protest to be upheld there must be evidence a game official intentionally misinterpreted or misapplied a playing rule, he said.

Once the investigation is completed, the league can decide to refuse the protest.

If the protest is upheld, the game can be awarded to either club or the league could order the game to be replayed in whole or in part, Copeland said.

Canadian Football League (Photo: CFL)

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