Rick Zamperin: CFL and players’ union made the right move to end their squabble
There’s good news and, well, interesting news, now that the Canadian Football League and the CFL Players’ Association have reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement averting a potential league-wide work stoppage next week.
News of the new three-year deal broke Wednesday morning, much to the delight of CFL fans across the country, many of whom were worried that the players would proceed with their first work stoppage since 1974.
Details of the pact continue to trickle in, but here are some of the things that we do know.
The league’s $5.2 million salary cap will increase by $50,000 in each year of the deal. In year two, the minimum salary will rise from $54,000 to $65,000. Medical coverage for players will increase to three years from just one.
Those are all positives for the players who will also reap some of the revenues associated with commissioner Randy Ambrosie’s CFL 2.0, which will embark on growing the game globally — namely in Mexico and Europe.
Another plus is that the number of mandated Canadian starters will remain at seven instead of being reduced to five, and in an effort to protect American players, teams must start at least three Americans who have played three years with one team or four years in the CFL.
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It is worth noting that the last agreement between the league and the CFLPA was a five-year deal and this new three-year package coincides with the expiration of the CFL’s television rights deal in 2021.
In short, these next three years are going to be extremely important to the future of this league.
Can Ambrosie’s global plan achieve the kind of growth that will pump serious dollars into the CFL’s coffers by then? What impact, if any, will the relaunch of the XFL in 2020 have on the number of American players who would have otherwise looked north? And while the addition of the Atlantic Schooners in 2021 will create a bunch of new jobs on and off the field, is the product going to be watered down?
Everyone in the game is doing a victory lap right now, but there will still be a lot of heavy lifting to make the league financially successful in the years ahead.
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