CFL could eliminate one global roster spot for 2021 season

Photo courtesy: Gilson Junio

The Canadian Football League could be cutting the number of global players on active rosters in half for the 2021 season.

General managers from across the CFL will hold a conference call on Tuesday afternoon to discuss a number of league issues. One of the items on the agenda is the possibility of reducing the number of global players on active rosters from two to one.

2019 was the inaugural season of the league’s global initiative, which saw each team dress one player from Europe or Mexico. Thiadric Hansen of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers was by far the most impactful one, recording five tackles, two forced fumbles, and one sack in 18 games.

Teams would have been required to have two global players on their active rosters in 2020 had the season been played, a stipulation that remains in place for 2021. Eliminating a global roster spot would allow teams to save money without strongly impacting how they fare on the field.

The CFL is holding its 2021 Global Draft on Thursday, April 15. Hundreds of players are available to be selected with many having participated in the 2021 Global Combine. JC Abbott, our resident global expert, broke down the top five performances from the virtual event.

In speaking with scouts around the league, the level of talent has improved substantially since the CFL 2.0 initiative began in 2019. With that said, the global players generally remain behind their American and Canadian counterparts in terms of skill and ability.

The selection order for the 2021 CFL Global Draft is as follows: B.C.; Edmonton; Toronto; Winnipeg; Saskatchewan; Montreal; Calgary; Hamilton; Ottawa. The event will be conducted in a “snake” format, meaning the order of selections will be reversed in even-numbered rounds.

It’s possible that CFL teams could still have two global active roster spots in 2021, however a reduction to one is being strongly considered.

Editor’s note: though this item was on the agenda, it was not discussed at the meeting due to time constraints.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.