Ottawa will return to the CFL next season — for sure, a source told Metro yesterday.

“I can tell you here and now that Ottawa definitely will be back for the 2007 season,” a member of the CFL’s franchise committee said. “There’s significant interest, legitimate interest. It’s just a matter of who will be the owners.” The source said outgoing CFL commissioner Tom Wright has focused on very little business this season other than re-establishing an Ottawa franchise. “He’s pretty well obsessed with it,” the source said. “He has solid business people, with integrity and credibility, ready to start up next season.”

Solid business people with integrity and credibility would be significantly different than the previous ownership of Bernie and Lonie Glieberman, U.S. businessmen who stopped paying the bills for the Renegades last year and left the CFL with eight teams this season instead of nine. The league has set Oct. 31 as a date for approving new ownership. Among investors pursuing the Renegades are Golden Gate Capital Corp., a Toronto financial services company led by chief executive Anthony Primerano, pharmaceutical giant Apotex Inc., and a syndicate of minor-league baseball owners who are fronted by a former CFL player.


• He corked his bat and he threw eggs at kids on Halloween, but ex-baseball star Albert Belle is in far more trouble now because, on Aug. 24, he will be sentenced for stalking in Arizona and faces up to nine years in jail. Belle was convicted of placing a tracking device on a former escortand hanging up repeatedly on calls to her. Belle’s pregnant wife Melissa initially claimed she had made the calls to the ex-escort but the court wasn’t buying it and Belle pleaded guilty.

• Baseball owners were supposed to meet in Toronto Aug. 8-10, but the get-together has been cancelled. No pressing business ... Broadcasting legend Ernie Harwell, closing in on 90, has been invited to return to the Tigers’ booth if Detroit makes it to the post-season ... Terry Vaughn, leading receiver in CFL history, has played with Doug Flutie, Jeff Garcia, Dave Dickenson, Anthony Calvillo and Jason Maas, but he tells me the best quarterback he had was Ricky Ray because of his precision passes ... One of the new Raptors, Anthony Parker, has a kid sister, Candace, who’s a dunk machine with the Tennessee Lady Vols and a friend of Philly star Allen Iverson. She met AI six years ago, when Anthony had a stint with the 76ers. Candace can outdunk Iverson ... Portland hopes to complete a trade for Iverson this week.

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