Canadian Football League players ratify collective agreement; The 2022 season at full speed

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In typical Canadian Football League fashion, a dangerous battle of wills off the field played out all the way Thursday, but nervous fans may be exhaling as the 2022 season rolls on.

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This awaits ratification by the CFL Board of Governors, which is expected.

The league and CFL Players’ Association bargaining committees reached agreement Thursday afternoon on a tentative seven-year collective agreement. In a vote by the largest number of members, excluding rookies, this deal was ratified and an announcement was made by the AP just before 10 p.m. ET, two hours before the deadline for acceptance of the league.

This means there will be a full slate of pre-season games starting with two on Friday; a full 18-game regular season; playoffs and a Gray Cup in scenic Regina, Sask. End of november. This will be the CFL’s first full roster since 2019, as the 2020 campaign was wiped out by COVID-19 and the 2021 season was shortened to 14 games, again due to pandemic restrictions and concerns.

“We are pleased that the players have now ratified a new collective agreement between the CFL and the CFTPA,” said commissioner Randy Ambrosie. “The CFL Board of Governors will proceed with its ratification vote shortly. We look forward to a successful season, including pre-season games this weekend, and a long and productive partnership with our players. »

The CBA which was reached on Thursday provides for a ratification bonus of $1.225 million to be shared among the nine teams ($136,111 per team) and for a nationalized American to play as the eighth Canadian to start in 2023. Also in 2023 , there may be two of the nationalized Americans playing up to 49% of the snaps in place of one of the Canadian starters. And the CFL has the possibility of making three in 2024.

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To encourage teams to continue playing with homegrown talent despite this allocation, the two teams with the most shots taken by Canadian players each season will be offered an additional second-round pick in the CFL Draft. These choices will replace the current territorial choices

This is a creative solution to a problem that doomed the first tentative agreement. A large majority of CFLPA members voted against that previous deal because it immediately allowed three nationalized American players to take up to 49% of the snaps for a Canadian starter.

The overwhelming rejection had placed both sides in a dangerous stalemate, with a long strike looming. However, the CFL submitted an amended proposal on Tuesday that called for a nationalized American to replace one of seven existing Canadian starters. The league also offered a $1 million ratification bonus, though it wasn’t new money. Instead, they removed it from the background of the revenue-sharing agreement that was already in place in the initial draft ABC.

Either way, steps were taken to appease some of the players opposed to the first tentative agreement, and the league’s willingness to continue engaging on the two contentious issues on Wednesday and Thursday provided the breathing room. needed for another tentative agreement.

The agreement also includes:

♦ The first revenue sharing agreement between the two parties that includes all revenue in the formula, including Gray Cup revenue.

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♦ An increase in long-term medical coverage from three to four years in 2022 and five years in 2023 and for the remainder of the agreement.

♦ CFTPA can reopen the ABC after five years, once TSN’s broadcast agreement expires. The term expires 30 days before the opening of training camp, rather than the day before camp.

♦ A veteran who has completed the term of their first contract and re-signs with that same club can be guaranteed up to 50% of their base salary in the final year of their next contract, whether it be a two-, three- or four-year contract.

♦ A year of service in the NFL counts as a year on the grid, so a player who does three years in the NFL can come back to the CFL as a free agent and negotiate a deal as such. If a player spends two years in the south, they live under the terms of the rookie cap for one season.

♦ Global players will receive an increase to the league minimum, which is $65,000 this year, $70,000 next year and will be $75,000 until the end of the agreement.

♦ The grievance and adjudication system has changed to allow CPAFL to speak directly to GMs and/or Team Presidents to try to resolve issues, rather than having to go through the office first of the league. Referees have also been added to the list.

♦ League and CFLPA also agreed to terms for a COVID travel policy, return of NFL window, player housing allowance tied to national average rent, mental health programs and substance abuse, a code of conduct for players and fans, administrative language regarding work permits, and national certification of all equipment and medical personnel who interact with players.

dbarnes@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/sportsdanbarnes

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