CFL, CFL Players’ Association extend CBA amendment talks deadline

CFL, CFL Players’ Association extend CBA amendment talks deadline

TORONTO — The CFL and CFL Players’ Association will continue discussing amendments to their collective bargaining agreement that could allow for a shortened 2020 season.

Prior to the start of negotiations last month, the CFL imposed Friday as the deadline for CBA amendments, along with an extension of the deal past its 2021 expiry. It also wanted health-and-safety protocols and federal funding in place by Friday.

But the CFLPA told its members in a memo Friday the CFL has extended the deadline to next week as it awaits word on government assistance.

The CFL would also need to reach an agreement with broadcast partner TSN.

“We await a decision early next week from the federal government when we can work to finalize certainty of compensation for players who are committed to playing in the 2020 season,” the union wrote.

The extension of CBA talks was hardly surprising. Prior to the start of Friday’s session, the CFLPA issued a memo to its membership saying the two sides continue to discuss health-and-safety matters but hadn’t engaged in “meaningful discussions around pay.”

Two sources said any CBA amendments would be for staging an abbreviated ‘20 season and extending the deal past 2021. The CFL and its players must both sign off on any changes to the CBA for a 2020 season to be played.

The sources were granted anonymity as neither the CFL nor the CFLPA have commented publicly about the amendment talks.

Earlier this month, the CFL submitted a revised financial request to Ottawa for roughly $42.5 million in aid. In April, the league asked the federal government for up to $150 million in assistance in the event of a cancelled 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CFLPA, in its memo, stated, ” … but until the federal government makes a decision on financial support for the league, it is unlikely we will be able to finalize an agreement today (Friday).”

Trouble is, any government support would likely come after the CFL and CFLPA reached their agreement. That’s because the amended CBA would provide definite cost certainty as a requirement for the aid.

The CFL’s revised request will also need co-operation from the six provinces where its franchises are located. That’s because Ottawa is dealing with the league’s offer via the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), which is a federal agency but also a crown corporation.

Subsequently, the federal government can’t mandate financial assistance for the CFL.

The BDC is essentially a bank with lending criteria and the CFL is unlikely to qualify given its financial state. To secure financial assistance, the league would likely require the Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. governments to serve as guarantors on any funding provided.

That could be an issue as Ontario sports minister Lisa MacLeod has stated the province has no CFL-specific money and there are many other sectors also requiring government help.

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie has stated the earliest the ‘20 season would begin is September. But he’s also said a cancelled campaign remains a possibility.

If there is indeed a season, it will be staged in Winnipeg. On Tuesday, the league named the Manitoba capital its hub city, pending approval from provincial and federal public health officials.

Under the Manitoba government plan, CFL players and coaches would be in a bubble consisting of hotels, practice fields and a stadium. Players would have to isolate at home for 14 days prior to departing for Winnipeg, be tested for the novel coronavirus upon their arrival then go into quarantine for another seven days.

The general public won’t be allowed into CFL-dedicated hotels or IG Field. The Manitoba government says violations will “result in strict penalties, which could include players being sent home for the remainder of the season.”

An abbreviated ‘20 season would call for each CFL team to play six regular-season games. The expectation is the league will adopt a one-division format, with eight of nine teams qualifying for the playoffs.

The Grey Cup game also would be played at IG Field.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 24, 2020.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

CFL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Is this a town garden?’ Sylvan Lake resident has been gardening for 7 decades

Most summer days, Joel McCutcheon is in his garden pulling weeds, tending flowers and mowing

Witnesses to doctor attack will likely suffer trauma: RCMP

Supt. Gerald Grobmeier held a news conference last night but wouldn’t confirm details.

Red Deer doctor killed at clinic

Red Deer RCMP are investigating the death of a doctor at the Village Mall Walk-In Clinic.

Alberta reports 257 new cases of COVID-19

Central zone has 157 active cases

Charges likely in fatal attack at central Alberta medical clinic: RCMP

A vigil was held Monday night to mourn the victim

Vigil held in Maskwacis for 10-year-old boy

Samson Cree Nation comes together for comfort, console each other

Cuts to environmental monitoring budget In Alberta’s oilsands are viewed as reckless

The 2019-2020 budget saw $58 million dollars being dedicated to environmental monitoring

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Police investigating after insults, expletives yelled at federal minister’s staff

A 90-second video circulating on social media appears to have been shot by the person who was yelling

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

Oilers 50/50 raffle delayed as team resolves errors, offers refunds

Alberta fans who want to void any ticket purchases will have until noon Thursday

Who can dismiss the Governor General? A look at protocols and possibilities

The Governor General is appointed by the Queen, on the advice of the prime minister

Most Read