‘Stand proud & invite them to play our game’: Football Canada president Jim Mullin issues statement on CFL-XFL talks

In moments of turmoil, controversy and crisis, leaders take a stand.

Following a joint statement from the CFL and XFL on Wednesday stating that they are exploring a potential collaboration, Football Canada president and long time advocate for football in Canada Jim Mullin took to Twitter to issue his thoughts.

Here are some personal thoughts from someone on the front lines of amateur football in Canada after the news broke yesterday regarding the CFL and XFL discussing possible alignment paths.

Canadian Football was my gateway into football and remained the vehicle to why I, along with legions of fans, coaches, officials, volunteers and media across Canada, dedicate their time, energy and passion to building the game.

Today, football is much more than the 12-man game in our country. It is 6-man for kids and small towns. It is flag for beginners and Team Canada at World Championships. It is our world junior team winning back-to-back gold medals playing American Football.

For some, contributing to something uniquely Canadian can be more significant than the sport itself. Our Canadian game is just that; it’s ours. It does not belong to a league, a conference or an association. It’s a set of values we share that sustain us as an unlikely nation. In a country that asks so little of us to be Canadian, football demands our better self; To make disparate parts work in unison, with a dedication to the community and a focus on resourcefulness.

The CFL has decisions to make as a league to set it on a sustainable pathway as a business instead of remaining a philanthropic institution. However, alignment within the sport in Canada needs to remain a primary objective. Cities, municipalities, schools and universities have installed infrastructure specific to our game. The league cannot radically alter their game in isolation without adverse effects on our sport.

Let’s move forward with confidence in what we’ve developed in over 150 years of Canadian football. Let’s dialogue with those globally who respect what we’ve achieved in our sport. And, if a visiting team wants a game here, stand proud & invite them to play our game.

That’s a sentiment that long time CFL fans can all get behind.

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