CFL, CFLPA verging on new seven-year collective bargaining agreement

According to multiple sources, the CFL and CFL Players’ Association are verging on a new seven-year collective bargaining agreement.

The deal will not be finalized until the league’s board of governors and the union’s membership have voted in favour of accepting it. Neither side has held a vote as of the publishing of this article.

The new CBA is expected to include guaranteed language on long-term veteran player contracts and include a substantial revenue sharing model that will be audited by a third party, per source.

There will also be a change made to the ratio as of 2023 that will see the number of national starters raised from seven to eight. One of these players can be a “nationalized American,” which is defined as an American player who has been on the same team for three years or in the CFL for five years.

Three additional nationalized Americans will be permitted to rotate with national starters provided that they do not play more than 49 percent of the total offensive or defensive snaps in a game. These additional nationalized Americans cannot play on the same side of the ball.

The CFL posted a tweet late Wednesday evening confirming that the league and the union had “reached a tentative agreement, subject to ratification.”

The CFLPA distributed an internal memo after reaching an agreement with the league indicating that they will conduct meetings with each team to explain the bargaining package and answer questions.

In the meantime, they have approved a memorandum of agreement and ended their strike. Training camps are expected to get underway on Thursday.

Seven CFL teams entered a work stoppage on Sunday following the expiration of the league’s previous collective bargaining agreement. The two remaining teams — Calgary and Edmonton — were scheduled to join them on Thursday afternoon in accordance with Alberta labour laws. It marked the CFL’s first player strike since 1974.

The CFL’s previous collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight this past Saturday. The league and the union had been involved in heated negotiations since Wednesday, but the CFL reportedly walked away from the bargaining table after presenting a final offer on Saturday afternoon.

Monday’s preseason game between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders was reportedly not going to take place unless a new collective bargaining agreement could be agreed upon by Wednesday. It remains unclear as to whether or not it will be played as scheduled or moved to a later date.

Editor’s note: this article will be updated as further details regarding the CBA are confirmed.

John Hodge is a CFL insider and draft analyst who has been covering the league since 2014.