CFL, CFLPA agree to independent third-party testing to resolve air quality dispute

Courtesy: CFLPA

The Canadian Football League (CFL) and the CFL Players’ Association have come to a consensus regarding the application of their Air Quality Policy.

On Wednesday, multiple media outlets reported that the CFLPA was investigating why the Labour Day Classic between the Edmonton Elks and Calgary Stampeders was allowed to proceed as scheduled on Monday despite an Air Quality Health Index reading above safe levels for rigorous outdoor activity.

The two sides met on Thursday and released a joint statement, adding independent testing to the existing protocol.

After a productive meeting, we will maintain our existing Air Quality Policy. We have agreed to engage an independent third party organization to test air quality and provide measurements in real time.

​The decision on whether to play – or to continue playing if a game is in progress – will be based solely on these air quality measurements.

​Any measurement above an Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) reading of 7 will halt play.

In 2019, the CFL and CFL Players’ Association (CFLPA) agreed that players should not practice or play outdoors if the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is seven or higher. According to Environment Canada, air quality due to wildfire smoke can fluctuate over short distances and vary considerably from hour to hour.

Wildfire smoke has been a persistent problem for CFL games in the prairies in recent years, with teams routinely announcing that they are monitoring air quality conditions prior to kickoff. No game has been cancelled or delayed due to air quality conditions.