Following reports that the Canadian Football League and its Player’s Association had reached an an agreement in principle on an amended CBA for the shortened 2021 season, the CFLPA issued the following statement confirming the news.
“The CFLPA is pleased to announce that it has ratified a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the CFL on amendments to the existing collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that will make it possible for games to be played in 2021.
The CFL Board of Governors must now vote on the ratified MOA on Monday, June 14. The CFLPA Bargaining Committee, including members of the executive, counsel and various player reps, have been actively meeting and negotiating with the CFL for the past four months to amend the existing CBA with an aim to play as many games as possible in 2021. On Wednesday, June 9, the CFLPA Bargaining Committee presented a memorandum of agreement to CFLPA player representatives who reviewed and ratified the agreement in accordance with the CFLPA constitution.
The CFLPA has provided frequent and regular updates to the entire membership throughout the pandemic, including during MOA negotiations. As recently as last Friday, the CFLPA detailed critical dates for members should the season begin August 5 – which includes a scenario where a 7-day home quarantine would start for all CFLPA members on June 25 and training camps could begin on July 10. These plans are contingent upon the CFL Board of Governors voting on Monday, June 14 to commence the 2021 season.”
In late April, the CFL delayed its start date with a 14-game schedule targeted to kick-off on August 5, culminating in a currently planned December 12 Grey Cup. For the timeline to be met, the league requires ‘a significant number of fans’ to be allowed in stadiums by municipal, provincial, and federal governments.
“We’ve done everything we can as a union and as players to lay the groundwork needed for us to play a safe 2021 season and now the CFL Board of Governors has an opportunity to do their part,” said CFLPA president Solomon Elimimian.
“I would like to thank our bargaining committee and the player representatives, as well as the CFL, for working hard to get us to a point where we believe we have a good and fair agreement in place for the players and for the game.”
The league and players’ union began meetings during the second week of February with a focus on playing football this year. The two sides have submitted return to play health and safety plans to various levels of government in Canada and are working to finalize the details in hopes of getting the final stamp from the nation’s capital.
“The memorandum of understanding that was presented to the player representatives was endorsed by our bargaining committee and is a fair agreement that represents the direction and needs of the CFLPA membership. We eagerly anticipate the CFL now making the right decision to get the season going while maintaining the highest player safety standards,” added CFLPA executive director Brian Ramsay.
“The entire CFLPA bargaining committee has worked very hard to get us to this point and presented an agreement to the player representatives that has the very best interest of the players in mind. The pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone in the CFL – and I can tell you that it has been especially hard on the players and their families. This MOA represents another big step toward getting us all back to work so that we can safely get back on the field this season.”
After the Canadian government refused to provide a $30 million interest-free loan a year ago, the board of governors voted to cancel the 2020 season. The CFL reportedly lost between $60 and $80 million in 2020 and are set to lose millions more if any kind of season is played in 2021.
That decision is now wholly in the owners’ court, with a decision expected to be announced shortly after the official vote of June 14.