The Canadian Football League Players’ Association ratified a new contract Thursday night.
The AJLCF made the announcement via email.
The ratification vote came after the two sides agreed to a tentative seven-year deal.
The ratification came two days after Commissioner Randy Ambrosie submitted a qualified final offer.
Following Thursday night’s outcome, Ambrosie had this to say in a statement:
“We are pleased to hear that the players have ratified the new collective labor agreement. The (Council) of Governors will soon proceed to their ratification vote. We look forward to a successful season and a long and productive partnership with our players.”
As planned, the preparation calendar starts on Friday evening.
The Montreal Alouettes play their first exhibition game in Hamilton on Saturday evening.
The AJLCF did not provide details on the outcome of the vote. Players from at least six of the nine clubs were required to vote in favor of ratification, using the 50 percent plus one rule.
On Monday, the players refused a deal recommended by the association. He also recommended accepting Thursday’s agreement.
Each roster this season would consist of seven Canadian starters and 21 Canadian players.
By 2023, that would be eight Canadian starters, including one nationalized (an American who played five years in the CFL, or at least three years on the same team).
In 2023, teams will be able to rotate two such players for up to 49% of games, both offensively and defensively.
Teams can grow to three nationalized Canadians by 2024; the two clubs with the most Canadians at the end of the season will receive additional draft picks.
The CFL will also provide $1,225 million to a player ratification pool.
The salary cap for 2022 remains at $5.35 million. It will be $5.51 million in 2023, up to $5.99 million in 2028.
The two sides disagreed over the Canadian relationship.
Last Wednesday, the CFL and CFLPA reached a seven-year preliminary agreement, ending a four-day strike by seven of the league’s nine teams.
At first glance, there seemed to be many positives for players, including a revenue-sharing model, the ability to reopen the pact in five years (after the broadcast contract expired), and the ability, for veterans, to negotiate partially guaranteed contracts .
But the deal also called on CFL teams to increase the number of Canadian starters from seven to eight. The additional player would be a nationalized Canadian.
Three other nationalized Canadians could participate in up to 49% of the games, and the deal did not include a ratification bonus.
Despite a recommendation from the association to agree, the players voted against ratifying the agreement.
On Tuesday, Ambrosie unveiled an amended proposal that included a $1 million ratification pool and the elimination of the three nationalized Canadians who played 49% of the games. However, he reduced the number of Canadian starters to seven, including one nationalized Canadian.
Ambrosie had set a deadline for accepting him at midnight on Thursday. He had said that if the players declined the offer and chose to resume the strike, they would have to leave their training venues.
It was the second time Ambrosie made a so-called final offer to the AJLCF.
On May 14, he posted a letter to fans on the CFL’s website detailing the league’s proposal to players, hours before the old collective bargaining agreement expired.
The next day, players from seven teams withdrew from training and went on strike.
The Elks and Stampeders started their camps as planned, as they were not in a legal strike position under provincial labor laws.
It was only the second stoppage in the league’s history and the first since 1974.