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CFL, CFLPA ratify new five-year collective bargaining agreement

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The Canadian Press
6/13/2014 3:08:39 PM
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TORONTO -- The CFL has ratified its collective bargaining agreement with the CFL Players' Association.

The league's board of governors accepted the five-year deal during a conference call Friday. The CFLPA voted in favour Thursday night.

"This agreement provides stability for our teams at the same time it improves pay, health and safety, and mobility for players," CFL commissioner Mark Cohon said in a statement."We're looking forward to a successful season and working together to grow this great league."

Added CFLPA president Scott Flory: "The players are committed to putting the best possible product on the field and are excited to get back to the game that we all love."

With both sides having signed off on the agreement, the 2014 regular season will kick off June 26 as originally scheduled. The new deal runs through May 15, 2019 or the first day of training camp that year.

But if the combined revenues of the nine teams -- excluding Grey Cup -- increase by more than $27 million in any year of the agreement, both sides will renegotiate an increase to the cap starting in the 2016 season.

The deal also changes how players are classified. Instead of being known as non-imports and imports, they'll be called nationals and internationals.

A player will be considered a national under three scenarios: if he was a Canadian citizen at the time of signing his first contract; was classified as a non-import prior to May 31; or was a Canadian resident for an aggregate period of five years before turning 18.

In the past, a player could be born in Canada and have Canadian citizenship but not qualify for non-import status if he received his football training outside of Canada. A example would be the sons of former CFL players who were born in Canada but learned their football in the U.S.

The CFL said while there's been a persistent argument non-imports should be called Canadians, there are players in the league who were counted as non-imports despite not being Canadian citizens.

Other agreement details include:

-- Increasing current salary cap per team from $4.4 million to $5 million this year and an additional $50,000 annually to a total of $5.2 million in 2018.

-- Setting the cap minimum at $4.4 million this year and an additional $50,000 annually to $4.6 million in 2018.

-- Increasing minimum salary from $45,000 to $50,000 this year, increasing $1,000 annually to $54,000 in 2018.

-- Increasing pension contributions from $3,600 for clubs and $3,600 for players to $3,700 each in 2014 and an additional $100 annually to $4,100 each in 2018.

-- A $1,500 ratification bonus for rookies and $7,500 for veterans, with the union determining the veteran scale. Each bonus will be paid to players on rosters as of June 22.

-- Boosting active rosters from 42 to 44 players while decreasing reserve roster from four to two players.

-- Eliminating the nine-game injured list and replacing it with a six-game list. Clubs can pull a maximum of two players off the six-game injury list early, without it counting against the cap for any player who continues to be on that list for more than six games.

-- Amending training camp protocol to allow only one practice daily with contact.

-- Amending in-season provisions to allow only one weekly practice with contact.

-- Eliminating the option year required on all future contracts with the exception of rookie deals.

-- Expanding practice rosters from seven to 10 players per team and 12 to 15 players come the fall.

Mark Cohon (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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