(Trois-Rivières) Although Canadian Football League (CFL) players officially rejected, on Monday, the agreement in principle reached between the CFL and the Players’ Association negotiating committee on Wednesday, the two sides have not far from ending a seven -year agreement.
Updated yesterday at 6:24 pm
“I think we’re close to an agreement and it could be finalized at any time,” said Chris Ackie, one of the two Alouettes representatives within the Players ’Association. Another was American Almondo Sewell, who declined interview requests from journalists on Tuesday, as he did on Thursday.
Much has already been said about the popular ratio of players in Canada during the negotiations between the League and the Players Association. According to the principle of the agreement rejected by players, three of the seven mandatory Canadian starters can now be replaced for 49% of games during matches. That would be a real nightmare for logistics coaches …
“There is no comment on this topic,” Khari Jones replied with a smile after his team trained on Tuesday at the Diablos stadium in Trois-Rivières.
Only American players with the lowest CFL experience can replace Canadian starters, we must specify. In other words, a policy that is relatively complex, the ratio of players to Canada, would be more so.
For me, this is really the ratio that was most important when I voted, because I work it out. I find it hard to accept.
It is not easy for a union to please all its members when the benefit for some is directly translated into a setback for others … The Players Association must take care of the working conditions of Canadians, while trying to improve the condition of Americans.
“Like any union, we’re looking for an agreement that’s good for everyone. I think we’re close to an agreement and that’s the message we’re getting. And that’s why we’re constantly training, because we’re positive that it will be resolved, ”commented Kristian Matte.
“Most of the players refused the agreement, but we continue to practice because we want to play football. Discussions are ongoing and we want to fix it as soon as possible.»
According to Matte, approximately 95% of Alouettes players refused the agreement in principle.
“It was almost 100% of the vote, so the solidarity with our team is strong. No pressure exerted, all players can vote as they wish. »
Some players are happy and others are not, always like that. You can’t make everyone happy.
“In the Canadian League, the ratio is always important, and it’s unique in the league. And honestly, I think that’s a point that can only be brought up to create doubts and disappointments. Maybe it’s a tactic. [de négociation], but that’s just my opinion. But in the locker room, we were all on the same wavelength. I talk to American and Canadian players, veterans and novices, and everyone agrees. »
If an estimated 95% Matte is talking against the interim agreement with the Alouettes, Dequoy estimates it is closer to 85%. Either way, the result is clear.
“On the team, there is no division between Canadian players and American players. 85% of players voted against the deal. If there really was a divide between Canadians and Americans, the vote would be closer to 55-45 than 85 -15, ”Dequoy noted.
The money before the ratio?
According to Ackie, the heart of the dispute is not the ratio of players to Canada, but the money that players will receive. “A lot of players want money now,” the Ontario linebacker candidly admitted.
“The more money we can get, the better. A large number of veterans have provided excellent service to the league, and for many years. So I think it would be nice if they could get a little bonus, ”Ackie said.
In this sense, Dave Naylor, of the TSN network, reported Tuesday that the CFL will offer to pay a total of $ 1 million to players in the form of a bonus if they agree to sign the a new agreement.
The League’s new proposal is said to be on the table until Thursday night. If players reject it, the CFL could choose to end training camps, according to Naylor. Currently, nine teams on the circuit have agreed to home and feed their players even though the collective agreement has expired since May 15.