Did Edmonton Unwittingly Ban the WWE in Their Combat Sports Moratorium?

Update December 13, 2017– The WWE has now announced that their planned bout in Edmonton in February is “postponed” citing the newly passed moratorium.  The below announcement was just posted on Rogers Place’s website.

“Following new guidelines established by Edmonton’s city council, WWE’s event on Friday, February 9 at Rogers Place has been postponed. The WWE is working closely with the local Commission, and hope to return with their sports entertainment events to Edmonton in the near future.”

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Last week the City of Edmonton issued a moratorium on professional combat sports events starting December 9, 2017 which will stay in force until “December 31, 2018, or until Council provides further direction.”

The City announced the moratorium will halt the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission from “issuing new licences or event permits for combative sports in the City of Edmonton.”

The problem?  The City may have unwittingly banned the WWE and other professional wrestling organizations from doing business in the City.

Why?  Edmonton Bylaw 15594 sets out the legal authority of the Commission.  They are tasked with regulating all “Combative Sports”.  The bylaw defines these to include wrestling with the following definition:

 

 

It could be argued that “wrestling” would not include the sports-entertainment version of the sport however this likely would not pass legal scrutiny.  The reason being the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission passed Policy #12 which specifically states that the Commission has a limited role in regulating the sport.  Most importantly, from the perspective of the moratorium, the ECSC notes as follows:

 

 

In short, the ECSC must issue a licence to professional wrestling promoters before an event can be held.  The City’s moratorium halts the issuance of new licences by the ECSC.  In other words, unless a wrestling promoter is already licenced by the ECSC with an event permit in place the City has also banned professional wrestling.

The WWE is scheduled to appear in Edmonton in February, 2018.  It is unknown if they have appropriate licences in place.  If not, the language of the recent moratorium appears to ban the promotion from following through with their plans.

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