Analysis | A short -term conflict is expected in the CFL

Players from seven CFL teams have been on strike since Sunday and the Edmonton Elks and Calgary Stampeders are likely to be the same when they can legally make it to Alberta starting Wednesday. Should we expect a long -term labor dispute? This is very impossible.

Posted at 2:08 pm

Miguel Bujold

Miguel Bujold
The Press

From what we know, negotiations between the Canadian Football League and the Players ’Association have been broken since the employer party left the negotiating table on Saturday. His “final” offer was simply rejected by the Players Association.

Tour commissioner Randy Ambrosie released an open letter to fans and players outlining the League’s offer. A strategy that of course is not very popular within the union …

For its part, the Players Association indicated in a press release that teams are prohibited from accessing their facilities using the “locked out” formula. But the players are on strike, remember. In other words, both sides are doing their best to gain public favor. A public that is very little interested in arguing in this labor, we must specify.

Apparently, it won’t be so many salary issues that aren’t satisfactory to players. It will prefer the popular ratio of Canadian players, among others.

The League wants to reduce the mandatory number of Canadian players from 20 to 19 per team, and the number of mandatory Canadian starters has been reduced from seven to six per club. The missing Canadian player must be replaced by an American player who has played at least four seasons in the CFL or three on his current team.

At first glance, this request from the League seems reasonable. Especially when you know that American players – who are generally more used than Canadian players – often earn the league’s lowest salaries and that they are traded mostly because of the group of talented players we see in USA.

Does the Players Association only represent the interests of its Canadian players or all of its members? This is a legitimate question.

That being said, Ambrosie and the CFL governors deserve to be blamed for using relatively low-level tactics. A tactic they believe they can stab players. As this league has often done in the past.

By waiting as late as possible to start discussions, the CFL certainly thought the players would give up at the last minute, as they have often done in the past. But this time it didn’t happen.

Furthermore, the League would have made a small first offer to the Players Association, wasting more valuable time. A 10-year contract with no salary increase … while inflation is the hot topic. And while the windfall of sports betting isn’t over it’s raining dollars on the professional sports industry. Ratings should normally rise over the next few years and not to mention advertisers – one of the two advertisements is that on some betting site on different sports channels.

The League offer on the table is for seven years, which is certainly not coincidental. If the CFL maintains that it has to find unity and to figure out what the long -term costs of running it are, it is completely lying. The League is well aware that there is a high probability that its revenues will increase significantly over the next few years. Provided he played his cards correctly, which is a whole other story…

A reality unique to other leagues

The salaries of CFL players have nothing to do with the major professional leagues in North America (NFL, Major League Baseball, NBA and NHL). While we calculate millions elsewhere, we’re talking $ 5,000 or $ 10,000 increases in the CFL, where most players earn less than $ 100,000 a year.

The contracts are not even guaranteed – though the League is now willing to guarantee part of them if their latest proposal is to be believed.

So we can understand the position of the players, whose career usually lasts only a few years in most cases. They want to be paid fairly.

They also value their long -term health. Another point is the desire of teams to see their players practice using their shoulder pads a certain number of times a year. Players will prefer to practice without contact, as they do currently.

But at the end of the day, and as Kristian Matte sums it up nicely on Sunday in Trois-Rivières, no one wants to lose money. And he doesn’t flow freely in the world of Canadian football! Players want to receive their salaries when the “regular” season starts and the League doesn’t want to cancel games. This is even more true after the 2020 pandemic and the shortened season of 2021.

The only other time there was a labor dispute in the CFL was in 1974, and no “regular” game had to be stopped. It should look like this after 48 years. Both sides may choose to sacrifice preseason games by sticking to their guns, but chances are the “regular” season won’t start as planned in the game between the Alouettes and the Stampeders on June 9 in Calgary is very low.

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