CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie publicly shares details of league’s CBA offer to players as two sides fail to come to agreement before deadline

Photo courtesy: CFL

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie has shared the details of the league’s latest collective bargaining proposal to the Canadian Football League Players’ Association after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on Saturday afternoon.

According to TSN’s Farhan Lalji: “The CFL & CFLPA have NOT been able to come to a deal ahead of the expiration of the CBA tonight. They are still far apart on a number of key issues. The PA is informing its team reps on what their plans are. The league plans to release its latest proposal shortly.”

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie released the following statement on the league’s website.

CFL Fans:

We know you’re looking forward to a CFL season that starts on time and includes a full schedule of games. To get there, we need a new collective agreement with our players, one that creates a new and positive partnership. Today we presented an offer to the CFLPA that will meet this goal. We have communicated this offer directly to players this afternoon. We want to share this information with you, as well.

The CFL and the CFLPA have been in ongoing over the past several days, with the current collective bargaining agreement set to expire at midnight on Saturday. Training camps are scheduled to open around the league on Sunday.

Ambrosie shared a letter sent to CFL players, highlighting some of the terms laid out in the league’s latest offer to the union.

This document summarizes the CFL’s offer that was presented to the union today, for your consideration.

It’s designed to build a true partnership with you, our talented, hard-working, community-minded CFL players.

It increases total player compensation by more than $24 million over the term of the agreement – plus an opportunity to share in revenue increases as we successfully work together to grow the league.

It protects jobs for Canadian players, the bedrock of the CFL.

It offers partially guaranteed contracts, for the first time in our league’s history.

It recognizes the contribution of veteran Americans, with a new opportunity to extend their careers with their team, without restricting free agency in any way.

It includes two increases in the league’s minimum salary.

It provides certainty and stability, with a 7-year-term.

Here are the details:

• $18.9 million in total guaranteed increases to the salary cap league-wide.

• $5.94 million in guaranteed compensation paid for community outreach and promotional appearances league-wide.

• An opportunity for twenty-five percent of all revenue growth over an agreed upon the threshold, to be added to the salary cap starting in 2023.

• Clubs would be permitted to re-sign their veterans to partially guaranteed contracts, a first for the CFL.

• A club would be allowed to choose one American player (non-quarterback), who has been in the league for at least four years or has played with the same team for at least three years, who would be considered a Nationalized American.

• This one Nationalized American would count as a National on the roster. He would join 20 or 21 Canadians who also count as Nationals on the roster.

• Each roster would have a minimum of seven National starters. This would include at least six Canadian players. The seventh starter could be either the Nationalized American or an additional Canadian.

• The roster would also include three quarterbacks of any nationality, 19 Americans and up to two Global players.

• A starting Canadian quarterback would count as a National (Canadian).

• These roster changes would kick in as of 2023.

• The minimum salary would increase to $70,000 in 2023 and $75,000 in 2027.

• An updated Code of Conduct that applies to all members of the CFL Community, including fans, instead of just players.

• A seat for your union on the Board of CFL Ventures, the commercial arm of the league, will allow us to work together on marketing our league and building our business.

An agreement based on this offer helps everyone across the CFL. Fans can expect improved roster continuity, something that has been a top priority for them for years. Our clubs will be able to consistently market their star players, with more confidence they could re-sign.

But this is about you and your career, first and foremost. That’s why this offer protects roster spots for our great Canadian players who mean so much to the CFL, it celebrates the veteran American players who have built careers here, and it includes increases for all players, including players paid the league minimum.

This is a win-win offer. It creates a stronger partnership, so we can work together to further improve our game and build our business. And it comes at a critical time. Our league, our clubs, and especially our players have been through so much during the pandemic. We turned the corner in 2021, working together to get back on the field. Now we have an opportunity to accelerate towards a brighter future.

Let’s seize that opportunity, together.

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie

While lacking details, the offer generally appears to be a significant improvement over previous proposals by the league. Prior offers had been met by concern and anger from the players with the CFL proposing, among other things, a ten-year agreement without salary cap increases and the elimination of the Canadian starting ratio.

However, the two sides remain far apart on a number of issues after the league dragged its heels in negotiations in order to create the pressure of a deadline.

Last week, CFLPA membership voted 95 percent in favour of giving the union permission to initiate a work stoppage. That ballot was part of the standard process of collective bargaining, but a strike now seems imminent with six hours to go until the deadline.