CFL, CFL Players’ Association reach tentative collective agreement

The second strike in CFL history is over.

The CFL confirmed Wednesday night that it and the CFL Players’ Association reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement. The league didn’t immediately offer any details but two sources told The Canadian Press the deal was for seven years.

The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity as neither the league nor union immediately offered specific details.

The contract must still be ratified by both the CFL board of governors as well as the CFLPA membership but the expectation is players will report to their teams Thursday and go through a walkthrough.

A source said one team, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, is scheduled to have a players’ meeting later Wednesday night to discuss the contract.

The other source said the opening exhibition game Monday night between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders will go ahead as scheduled as a result of the tentative deal.

One of the sources added the agreement can be opened for renegotiation once the league signs a new broadcast deal. The CFL’s agreement with TSN reportedly expires in five years.

However, the source added the agreement gives the CFLPA a share of all revenues and also includes minimum salary-cap increases annually.

And the new deal is set to expire at least 30 days prior to the start of training camp rather than the day before like the past agreement did.

The new contract comes four days after players with seven of the league’s nine teams opted against the start of training camp hours after the previous agreement expired.

Talks between the league and union broke off Saturday.

The previous deal, originally signed in 2019 and amended for a shortened ’21 campaign, expired at midnight ET on Saturday, putting the players on the seven squads in a legal strike position at 12:01 a.m. ET on Sunday.

Players with the Edmonton Elks and Calgary Stampeders both reported to camp because they weren’t in a legal strike position, according to provincial labour laws.

But the tentative agreement comes just before the Elks and Stampeders players would’ve been in a legal strike position. On Wednesday, the CFL confirmed the players in Alberta would’ve been eligible to walk off the job at 2:25 p.m. ET on Thursday.

CFL players have gone on strike once, in 1974, but the situation was settled before the start of the regular season.

The regular season kicks off June 9 with the Montreal Alouettes in Calgary to face the Stampeders.