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Canadian Football League interim commissioner David Braley laughs at a question during a news conference in Edmonton Friday, November 22, 2002. (CP PHOTO/Kevin Frayer)

KEVIN FRAYER

David Braley has a message for the people who want to buy the B.C. Lions: they're still not for sale.

The Canadian senator, who owns both the Lions and Toronto Argonauts, has been fielding inquiries for the 2011 West Division champions, including one that came in two weeks ago.

According to Braley, there are "seven or eight" parties interested in purchasing the Lions – he declined to identify them - who will play the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Sunday's Grey Cup game here.

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"I have significant suitors interested in a purchase of the B.C. Lions, I'm not ready to do it (sell the team)," Braley said Tuesday. "The statement I've made in both cities (Vancouver and Toronto) is I'm very healthy. I just turned 70 and I'd like to own a team, one or both, until I'm 75."

Braley is having his staff with the Argonauts evaluate player personnel and what happened this season when Toronto took a step back and failed to make the playoffs. Since he owns the rights to the 2011 and 2012 Grey Cup, which is set to celebrate its 100th anniversary in Toronto next November, Braley isn't keen on listening to offers for the Argos until 2013 at the earliest.

"I believe I can accomplish (in Toronto) over the next three years the same kind of success here in B.C. It takes a business plan and slow steps. The marketing required is humongous," he said. "The game plan is underway to put that together."

There is speculation the last two Grey Cup games earned the Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders between $4.5 million to $6 million each. Braley should do at least as well since Sunday's game is a sellout of more than 50,000 spectators in a newly refurbished B.C. Place.

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Allan Maki is a national news reporter and sports writer based in Calgary. More

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