Football Canada, CFL Players Association unveil three-year partnership

The CFL is experiencing just the second work stoppage in league history and first since 1974. (Nick Iwanyshyn/CP)

Football Canada and the CFL Players' Association have formed partnership aimed at growing the game in Canada.

The three-year deal, announced Tuesday, will focus on the sport's growth, learning, and safety opportunities and is designed to "foster football development and growth in Canada over the next three years.''

"The game of football has been life-changing for most CFLPA members, including myself, because it develops not only athletic skill but also character, fosters teamwork, and forges long-lasting relationships,'' CFLPA president Solomon Elimimian said in a statement. "This is an exciting opportunity to partner with Football Canada as we work together over the coming years to grow the game and get more youth in Canada learning and playing football.''

The strategy included the Football Canada First Down program, aimed at kids between the ages of four and eight.

The CFLPA and Canada's governing body for amateur football will conduct free one-day, non-contact forums during Football Weekend in Canada (Sept. 16-18). Dates, times and locations are to be announced in August.

"It's our goal to get a record number of kids exposed to the sport for the first time during Football Weekend in Canada,'' said Football Canada president Jim Mullin. "I can't think of a better way for our sport to be introduced to kids and their families than with a CFLPA Ambassador participating in the instruction of the First Down program.''

The partnership will also provide programming for current CFLPA members to get their coaching certification. Also planned are sport-wide safety initiatives.

Additional programs will be unveiled in the coming months.

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