TORONTO — A new five year collective bargaining agreement has been officially ratified by both the Canadian Football League and the Canadian Football Players’ Association.
“This agreement provides stability for our teams at the same time it improves pay, health and safety, and mobility for players,” said Mark Cohon, Commissioner of the CFL.
“We’re looking forward to a successful season and working together to grow this great league.”
“The Players are committed to putting the best possible product on the field and are excited to get back to the game that we all love,” said CFL Players’ Association President, Scott Flory.
The new agreement will be in place until the later of May 15, 2019 or the first day of training camp in 2019.
However, if the nine teams’ aggregate revenues (excluding Grey Cup) increase by more than $27 million in any year of the agreement, both sides will renegotiate an increase to the salary cap starting in the 2016 season.
The agreement changes the way players are classified. Instead of being known as non-imports and imports, they will now be classified as nationals and internationals.
A player will be considered a national player if he was a Canadian citizen at the time of signing his first contract, was classified as a non-import prior to May 31, 2014, or was physically resident in Canada for an aggregate period of five years prior to reaching the age of 18.
In the past, a player could be born in Canada and have Canadian citizenship, but not qualify for non-import status if he received his football training outside of Canada. One example would be the sons of some former CFL players, who may have been born in Canada but learned their football in the U.S.
While some have long argued non-import players should simply be called Canadians, there remain some players in the league who were counted as non-imports even though they are not Canadian citizens.
The agreement also:
• Increases the current salary cap per team from $4.4 million to $5 million this year and an additional $50,000 a year in subsequent years to a total of $5.2 million in 2018.
• Sets the minimum any team must spend on players’ salaries at $4.4 million this year, and an additional $50,000 a year in subsequent years, to a total of $4.6 million in 2018.
• Increases the minimum pay for players from the current $45,000 to $50,000 this year and an additional $1,000 a year to a total of $54,000 in 2018.
• Increases pension contributions from the current $3,600 for clubs and $3,600 for players to $3,700 each in 2014 and an additional $100 each a year to a total contribution of $4,100 each in 2018.
• Provides a $1,500 ratification bonus per each rookie player, and $7,500 per each veteran player for ratification bonuses, with the union to determine the scale on which veterans will receive bonuses (with all such bonuses to be paid to players on team rosters as of June 22, 2014).
• Increases a team’s active roster from 42 to 44 players, and decreases a team’s reserve roster from four to two players.
• Amends the rules and regulations to provide for a six-game injured list, eliminating the nine-game injured list. Clubs are allowed to pull a maximum of two players off the six-game injury list early and without it counting against the salary cap for any player who continues to be on that list for more than six games.
• Amends the training camp protocol to allow only one practice a day to have contact.
• Amends in-season provisions to provide to allow only one practice a week to have contact.
• Eliminates the current requirement for an option year on all future contracts with the exception of first contracts for rookie players.
• Expands practice rosters from seven to ten players per team and, come the Fall, from 12 to 15 players.
“The CFL Players’ Association would like to thank our fans for their support and understanding during this process,” said Flory.
“I want to thank our players, teams and especially our fans for their patience during this time,” Cohon said. “Now it’s time to focus on what we all love: the great game of Canadian football.”