TORONTO – CFL players have started voting on their tentative agreement with the league.
The CFL Players’ Association and CFL agreed in principle on a five-year contract Saturday.
The players have until 8 p.m. ET to vote. The CFL board of governors will hold its ratification vote Friday afternoon.
A majority of players – 50 per cent plus one – on six of the nine CFL teams must support the deal for it to be accepted.
If the agreement is rejected, the union will notify the CFL and try resuming talks.
A strike is also a possibility given the tentative deal wasn’t well received by some players.
Many were unhappy that the agreement calls for a $5-million salary cap in the first year after the CFLPA had originally sought a $6.24-million cap. Last year, the CFL salary cap was $4.4 million.
The CFL also got the players to agree to its gross revenue formula that would trigger the renegotiation of the cap or entire collective agreement.
The players, who initially wanted the CBA to include revenue sharing, wanted the cap or entire agreement renegotiated if league revenues increased by more than $18 million – excluding the Grey Cup – in the third year of the deal. But the union ultimately agreed to the CFL’s figure of $27 million.
The union did get the option year on CFL contracts eliminated, excluding rookies. Also, the players’ practice day, for the most part, remains at 4.5 hours but can be increased to a maximum of six hours while teams will hold just one padded practice a week during the season.
Toronto Argonauts players met Wednesday night to discuss the agreement and centre Jeff Keeping, a member of the union executive,
said good questions were asked.
“I’m happy the guys have all the facts,” Keeping said. “I feel at the end of the day the guys are more informed than they were prior to that.
“The mood is mixed. Guys are entitled to their own opinion and every man is going to make his own choice.”
Keeping said players will be able to vote electronically until 8 p.m. ET, after which the ballots will be tabulated. He added the results are expected later Thursday evening with the union releasing them sometime Friday.
© 2014 The Canadian Press