TORONTO — The CFL Players’ Association has voted to accept a new collective bargaining agreement with the league.
The union said in a statement Thursday night its players voted to accept the five-year contract reached Saturday with the CFL.
"It’s a YES!" offensive lineman Peter Dyakowski, a player rep with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, tweeted. "We’ve got a new CBA!
‘I can only tell you that with the vibe in the lockerroom and the conversations we had in the locker-room this week, my impressions were that it was going to pass overwhelmingly’
— Bombers players rep Glenn January
"It’s time to get back to football! Everybody wins."
The CFL’s board of governors is scheduled to vote on the deal Friday and the expectation is they’ll accept it.
The CFLPA didn’t provide a breakdown of the votes but a majority of players — 50 per cent plus one — on six of the nine CFL teams was required for the deal to be accepted.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers players representative Glenn January said the CFLPA executive did not disclose the voting results on a team-by-team basis during a conference call with player reps Thursday night.
But January said his impression was that his teammates in Winnipeg voted overwhelmingly in favour of the new deal.
"I can only tell you that with the vibe in the locker-room and the conversations we had in the locker-room this week, my impressions were that it was going to pass overwhelmingly. But I don’t have the hard numbers to back that up," January said last night.
January said he has mixed feelings about the deal the players have agreed to ratify.
"I think I share the feelings of a lot of players not only on my team but around the league that we’re excited to get this done. Not everybody is going to be happy with the deal and to be honest I’m not happy with everything in this deal. "
The players voted in favour despite many expressing their unhappiness publicly and on social media about the deal. It offers a $5-million salary cap in the first year of the agreement after the CFLPA had originally sought a $6.24-million cap.
Last year, the CFL’s salary cap was $4.4 million.
The CFL also got the players to agree to its gross revenue formula that would trigger the renegotiation of the cap or entire collective agreement.
The players, who initially wanted the CBA to include revenue sharing, wanted the trigger set at an $18-million increase — excluding the Grey Cup — in the third year of the deal. But the union ultimately agreed to the CFL’s figure of $27 million.
The union did get the option year on CFL contracts eliminated, excluding rookies. Also, the players’ practice day, for the most part, remains at 4.5 hours but can be increased to a maximum of six hours while teams will hold just one padded practice a week during the season.
— The Canadian Press, with files from Paul Wiecek