CFLPA president Solomon Elimimian prepares players for harsh COVID-19 reality

CFL Players’ Association president Solomon Elimimian president wants his union to prepare for the realities of the uncertainty presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

Elimimian sent a memo to the entire membership:

Hi guys,

Hope you are all safe and having a productive off-season.

As I sit here writing to you from Arizona, everything is being shut down from schools to malls to restaurants to gyms. We are in a different world to say the least. Like many of you, I’ve had to re-calibrate my plans, and it seems as if the only thing that is certain right now is uncertainty.

I want you to know that I have been in regular communication with the CFL to try and get answers to the questions we all have. And by now you’ve heard from your team player reps who I must commend as they are extremely engaged and staying up to date with constant calls and emails from myself and the CFLPA office.

Our challenge is that many of the answers we need are tied closely to decisions that are with the highest levels of government in the United States and Canada. Border restrictions, social and physical distancing, and declared local emergencies are all intended to keep us and our families safe, but we anticipate they will impact 2020 training camps and the CFL season. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you all to prepare for the worst.

No decisions have been made, but there have been discussions with the CFL around whether training camps can start on time, as well as what a modified start to the CFL season could look like. Now, with that being, said it’s important to train and stay ready the best you possibly can.

There are a few things that should be highlighted again:

Access to team facilities – these will be open for rehab purposes only. Please contact your respective CFL team trainers if there are any issues.

Off-season bonuses – bonus money scheduled to be paid between now and the start of training camp will be paid.

Medical Insurance:

Class 1 (typically players living in Canada) – your insurance will be voided if you have traveled out-of-country since March 13th – there is a pandemic clause within the policy. If you were already outside of Canada when the pandemic was announced, you have until March 27 to get back into Canada – hurry!

Class 2 (typically players living in the US) – your insurance works as normal. You are covered for COVID-19 related treatment costs. There is no pandemic clause in place for this class.

Unemployment insurance eligibility – the CFLPA is exploring the eligibility of CFL players for employment insurance in the event that that season cannot start on time or at all. This is still in the works and we will continue to update you as we get information.

The Academy – the CFLPA Academy is here for you. The Academy has many tools that can help every player during times like these with work skills programs, financial literacy and overall wellness. I’ll share more on this soon but check out the website!

Please understand that we are in uncharted times and there is no playbook in the modern world for dealing with a global pandemic. One thing for sure is that we are all in this together. I believe that tragedy and hardship have a way of bringing us together because we are all dealing with real life issues. But I understand that sharing information and communication builds trust and patience.

Please be assured that, as more answers are available and decisions are made, your CFLPA will relay this information to you.

The CFLPA will be updating regularly, so please bookmark this page and check-in often.

Best regards,

Solomon Elimimian | CFLPA President

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie cancelled the CFL combines during the ongoing COVID-19 situation and is planning for contingencies. CFL training camps are currently scheduled to open May 17 with regular season kick-off set for June 11.

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