CFL and CFL Players’ Association reach tentative collective bargaining agreement

A football with the CFL logo. (Canadian Press Photo)

TORONTO — The second strike in CFL history is over.

The CFL and the CFL Players’ Association reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement Wednesday night, the league said.

Sources told the Canadian Press that it is a seven-year deal and spoke on the condition of anonymity as neither side immediately offered confirmation.

The contract must still be ratified by both the CFL board of governors as well as the CFLPA membership but the expectation is players will report to their teams Thursday and go through an opening-day walkthrough.

A source said one team, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, is scheduled to have a players’ meeting later Wednesday night.

The other source said the opening exhibition game Monday between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders will go ahead as scheduled as a result of the tentative deal.

The agreement comes four days after players with seven of the league’s nine teams opted against the start of training camp hours after the previous agreement expired.

Talks between the league and union broke off Saturday.

The previous deal, originally signed in 2019 and amended for a shortened ’21 campaign, expired at midnight ET on Saturday, putting the players on the seven squads in a legal strike position at 12:01 a.m. ET on Sunday.

Players with the Edmonton Elks and Calgary Stampeders both reported to camp because they weren’t in a legal strike position, according to provincial labour laws.

But the tentative agreement comes just before the Elks and Stampeders players would’ve been in a legal strike position. On Wednesday, the CFL confirmed the players in Alberta would’ve been eligible to walk off the job at 2:25 p.m. ET on Thursday.

CFL players have gone on strike once, in 1974, but the situation was settled before the start of the regular season.

The regular season kicks off June 9 with the Montreal Alouettes in Calgary to face the Stampeders.

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