The second strike in CFL history is over.
The CFL confirmed Wednesday night that it and the CFL Players Association have reached an interim collective bargaining agreement. The association did not immediately provide any details, but two sources told the Canadian Press that the deal was for a period of seven years.
The sources spoke on condition of anonymity as neither Al-Ittihad nor Al-Ittihad immediately provided specific details.
The contract will have to be endorsed by both the CFL Board of Referees as well as CFLPA membership but the expectation is that the players will report to their teams on Thursday and go through an elaborate run.
The CFL and the CFLPA have reached a preliminary agreement subject to ratification.
But in a note to its members, the CFLPA said the strike was over.
“We will inform the league that we have agreed to a memorandum of agreement and that we have ended our strike,” the union said. “We think the clubs will want to start a training camp soon and the players should expect to hear about it.
“This agreement is subject to membership ratification during the next few days, as we will hold meetings with each team to explain the bargaining package and answer questions,” he added.
A source said one of the teams, the Hamilton Tiger Cats, was scheduled to hold a players’ meeting later Wednesday night to discuss the contract.
“Twitter is breaking news about your job before you know or vote LOL Wilde,” Bralon Addison, a receiver at Hamilton, wrote on Twitter.
Show season is set to kick off Monday night between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The Canadian Football League will announce its plans for the competition on Thursday, an official with the Canadian Football League said.
One of the sources added that the agreement could be opened for renegotiation once the university signs a new broadcast deal. The CFL’s agreement with TSN is said to expire in five years.
However, the source added that the agreement gives CFLPA a share of all revenue and also includes annual minimum salary increases. Additionally, seasoned players will have the ability to negotiate guaranteed contracts, something the CFL initially rejected earlier in the negotiations.
Teams will now be able to start eight Canadians but one of them will be a naturalized Canadian or American with at least five years of CFL experience or three with the same team. There have been reports that there will be 12 padded team workouts this year, but players will also get more long-term health coverage (five years by the third year of the contract) in return.
The new agreement is due to expire at least 30 days before the start of the training camp instead of the day before as the previous agreement did.
The new contract comes four days after players from seven of the league’s nine teams were chosen against starting the training camp hours after the previous agreement expired.
Talks between the association and the federation were suspended on Saturday.
The previous deal, originally signed in 2019 and modified for a shortened ’21’ campaign, expired at midnight ET Saturday, putting players on the seven teams on legal strike action at 12:01 a.m. ET on Sunday.
But the initial agreement comes right before the Elks and Stampeders players are in a legal strike position. On Wednesday, the Canadian Football League confirmed that players in Alberta will be eligible to leave the job at 2:25 p.m. ET on Thursday.
CFL players went on strike once, in 1974, but the situation was settled before the start of the regular season.
The regular season begins on June 9 with the Montreal Alois in Calgary to face the Stampeders.