Clifford Starke confirms interest in buying Montreal Alouettes

Montreal businessman Clifford Starke confirmed media rumours Thursday and stated his intention to buy the Montreal Alouettes.

 "In a period of uncertainty in respects to the future of the Alouettes, I would formally like to announce my intention to pursue the necessary steps in order to purchase the team, whatever those steps may be, while respecting the process of the Canadian Football League," Starke said in a statement. "It is my desire and goal to bring the Grey Cup back to where it belongs — Montreal."

Starke, 35, is the chairman of Hampstead Private Capital. Brad Smith, a former CFL receiver and son of former Alouette and former CFL commissioner Larry Smith, is acting as Starke's consultant.

Starke and Smith played football together as teenagers at Lower Canada College.

Starke is looking to succeed Robert Wetenhall, who purchased the team in 1997 from Jim Speros, who moved the franchise to Montreal from Baltimore a year earlier. Under Wetenhall's ownership, the Alouettes became a model franchise, making the playoffs every year and reaching eight Grey Cup finals, winning three.

In recent years, however, the Alouettes have fallen on hard times, failing to post a winning record since 2012.