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CFL, CFLPA to use third party to test air quality after Labour Day game dispute

Elks vs. Stampeders Elks vs. Stampeders - The Canadian Press

The CFL and CFLPA say an independent third-party organization will test air quality and provide measurements for future games after an investigation was launched over the conditions in Monday's Edmonton Elks-Calgary Stampeders game.

The two organizations said in a joint statement on Thursday that the decision to play, or continue to play, a game will be based on the measurements provided by the organization.

If the measurement shows an Air Quality Health Index reading of seven, then the game will be halted.

Monday's tilt at Calgary's McMahon Stadium was played despite Environment Canada's Air Quality Health index for Calgary measuring between eight and 10 throughout the day.

The CFLPA says it twice informed the CFL in writing — before the opening kickoff and afterwards — that the contest shouldn't go ahead because of unsafe work conditions.

Environment Canada's air quality index for northwest Calgary was still at nine four hours after kickoff.

Elks defensive end Jake Ceresna said players felt the smoke during the game but had to focus on the game itself, which resulted in a 35-31 comeback win for the Stampeders.

Edmonton head coach Chris Jones said assistant general manager Geroy Simon told him before the tilt that the game might be cancelled due to the conditions.

​"We've had such bad air quality up here this year, and had to run indoors and run outdoors. Some days we're in, some days we're out," he said. "I woke up that morning and … Geroy told me he had spoke with league officials, that we could be delayed.

"We just kind of followed the protocol after that."

— With files from Steven Sandor in Edmonton.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 7, 2023.