CFL Players’ Association ratifies new CFL contract

The CFL Players’ Association ratified its new collective agreement with the CFL Thursday night.

The CFLPA made the announcement by email. The player vote came hours after the two sides reached a tentative seven-year deal.

The ratification came two days after CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie unveiled the league’s final offer to its players.

The deal also needs to be ratified by the CFL’s Board of Governors, but that shouldn’t be a problem. With the players agreeing to the deal, the league’s exhibition season will open on time Friday night.

“We are pleased that the players have now ratified a new collective agreement between the CFL and CFTPA,” Ambrosie said in a statement. “The CFL Board of Directors will proceed with its ratification vote shortly.

“We look forward to a successful season – including the pre-season games this weekend – and a long and productive partnership with our players.”

CFTPA did not provide aggregate voting results. Players from six of the CFL’s nine teams had to agree to the deal for it to be ratified, with the required margin being at least 50% plus one ballot in favor.

On Monday, the players voted against a tentative agreement that the union had recommended they accept. The CFTPA also recommended ratification of Thursday’s tentative agreement.

According to sources, CFL teams will have seven Canadian starters and 21 total on the roster this year. In 2023, that number increases to eight, including one nationalized Canadian – an American who has spent five years in the CFL or at least three with the same team.

Clubs will also be able to run two nationalized Canadians up to 49% of shots. Teams can expand to three nationalized Canadians in 2024, but the two franchises that face the most Canadians at the end of the season will receive additional second-round picks.

And the seven Pure Canadian starters per game will remain intact for the duration of the deal, which can be reopened after five years when the CFL’s broadcast deal with TSN expires.

The CFL will also provide $1.225 million in a ratification pool for players. The salary cap this year will remain at $5.35 million and will increase to $5.51 million in 2023. It will be $5.99 million in 2028.

Minimum salaries for Global, National (Canadian) and US players will be consistent. The figure will rise from $65,000 to $70,000 next year and to $75,000 in 2027.

The maximum housing allowance this year will be $2,300 per month for six months. The CFL and CFLPA agree to an annual review to determine the maximum number of housing allowances for the next season.

In return, the CFL benefits from prolonged social peace and the possibility of truly rebuilding its business. The league did not play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic — which is believed to have lost between $60 million and $80 million — and ran a shortened 14-game campaign last year.

Last December, the league announced a partnership with Genius Sports, a data, technology and commerce company that connects sports, betting and media. In August 2021, the CFL signed a multi-year partnership with BetRegal to become its Official Online Sports Gaming Partner.

Disagree on the Canadian ratio

Last month, the single game sports betting industry opened its doors in Ontario.

But Canadian Justin Palardy, a former kicker who spent time with five CFL teams from 2010 to 2015, took to social media to express his displeasure with the deal.

“As I said on another tweet, what’s the point of writing more [Canadians] if we get rid of Canadian starters?” he tweeted. “You might think that’s a great idea, that doesn’t mean it makes sense.”

Defensive lineman/linebacker Shomari Williams, who was first overall in the 2010 CFL Draft in Saskatchewan and played with four teams over six pro seasons (2010-15) was also unimpressed. .

“I think the main objective of the APCFL for [Canadian] members is NOT to diminish the role of [Canadian] CFL players,” he tweeted. “How do you bring that to your [Canadian] members after voting no and having the certainty that you will be re-elected? »

The two sides were at odds over the Canadian ratio.

Last Wednesday, the CFL and CFLPA reached a tentative seven-year deal, ending a four-day strike by seven of the league’s nine teams. At first glance, there seemed to be plenty of positives for the players, including a revenue-sharing model, the possibility of reopening the pact in five years once the CFL signed a new broadcast deal, and veteran players having the possibility of negotiating partially guaranteed contracts. .

But the deal also called for CFL teams to increase the number of Canadian starters from seven to eight. The extra would also have been a nationalized Canadian.

In addition, three other nationalized Canadians could play up to 49% of the snaps. And the agreement did not include a ratification bonus.

On Tuesday, Ambrosie unveiled a modified proposal that included a $1 million ratification pool and the abolition of the three nationalized Canadians playing 49% of the snaps. However, he also reduced the number of Canadian starters to seven, including one nationalized Canadian.

Not only did Ambrosie say it was the CFL’s last offer, but it was good until midnight ET Thursday, given that the league’s game schedule was scheduled to start Friday night with two games. Ambrosie added that if the players reject the offer and choose to resume the strike, they would be advised to leave their respective training camp facilities.

This was the second time Ambrosie has made a final contract offer to the CFLPA public. On May 14, he posted a letter to fans on the league’s website detailing the league’s proposal to players hours before the old CBA expired.

The following day, players from seven CFL teams opted out of training camp and went on strike. The Edmonton Elks and Calgary Stampeders both opened camp as scheduled because they were not in a legal strike position under provincial labor laws at the time.

It was only the second work stoppage in league history and the first since 1974.

Andrew B. Reiter