Player recruitment a looming issue for CFL –

    Collective bargaining in professional sports includes all sorts of different elements between players and leagues. but in the end, as they say, it all comes down to money.

    That’s mostly been a losing proposition for Canadian Soccer League players in recent years, with salaries stagnating in line with income.

    Reading: Average salary of canadian football player

    the cfl is coming off two tough seasons financially, the lost 2020 season and a 2021 season in which most teams had to deal with reduced crowds and revenue.

    So, it’s not hard to imagine that the owners aren’t in the mood to raise the salary cap much beyond its current level of $5.3 million per team, even though the players have been through a couple of tough economic years. own.

    but this time there is another dynamic at play when it comes to compensation. The CFL has competition for American players, both from the upstart United States Soccer League, which has just completed its third week of a 10-game regular season, and the Dwayne Johnson-led XFL, which is preparing to kick off to play next February.

    there is an instinct to dismiss these leagues as paper tigers, given the number of alternative professional leagues that have come and gone over the last 35 years, a list that includes the original usfl, the original xfl, the united football league , the football alliance, and xfl2, not to mention various incarnations of arena football.

    cfl’s approach to each has been to simply ignore it, focusing instead on their own business while the competition dies on the vine. And that’s exactly what happened in every case, every time the cfl pipeline was restored to the world’s best players out of contract in the national soccer league.

    The fact that none of these leagues have lasted long enough to have any measurable impact on the cfl means that we really don’t know what the effect of a sustainable alternative league will be in the us. uu. would have on the Canadian product. but by any measure, it wouldn’t be good.

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    This is why there is considerable concern in the cfl that player recruitment will be an issue for at least the next 12-24 months, and possibly beyond.

    The reasons are obvious.

    first, a salary comparison between what is offered to rookies in the cfl vs. usfl and xfl.

    usfl pays its players $4,500 (us) per week plus bonuses for wins, and players also receive subsidized accommodation during the season.

    Although the xfl’s salary scale has not been disclosed, espn reported that xfl officials told agents last week that the league will offer higher salaries and better benefits than usfl.

    xfl apparently plans to have 70-player rosters with active 45-player rosters by game day, providing opportunities for 560 players, roughly 200 more than usfl currently.

    in addition, the xfl will have an affiliation with the nfl through a training center in canton, ohio, which will prepare players for both leagues. On Thursday, XFL announced a series of “showcases” for June and July, aggressively jumping into the player recruitment game.

    those things alone will drive a lot of gamers away from canada.

    The timing and brevity of the spring league schedules also invite players in, allowing them to play a 10-week regular season, with the ability to enter an nfl camp during the summer, instead of the 18 cfl games. , 21-week regular season.

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    Over an entire season, cfl players earning the league minimum earn just $3,095 per week in Canadian dollars, plus subsidized housing and playoff incentives, which last season were worth $23,000 for each member gray cup champion winnipeg blue bombers.

    alternative leagues, such as usfl and xfl, are based on the one-size-fits-all salary model, where players do not have the ability to negotiate their own salaries.

    so that’s one area where the cfl has an advantage, and why they won’t lose any of their star players in these new leagues. but the issue is incoming talent. selling those players what they could earn for the third or fourth year in canada will not be easy.

    the cfl increased its minimum salary from $54,000 to $65,000 in 2019, despite only a minimal increase in the salary cap. there’s not much room to push that higher without raising the cap substantially.

    The reality is that the CFL cannot make its base pay scale competitive at this time with the USFL or XFL without drastically altering its cost structure.

    All of this comes at a time when the league has been examining itself for the quality and entertainment value of its game.

    losing good players, i.e. those who represent the next wave of cfl stars, will not solve that problem.

    the cfl has been looking for additional income for a long time and has promised to share it with its players along the way. players will no doubt hear that again in this round of collective bargaining.

    but there is some urgency in paying players better wages for more than just justice. it’s also about the product.

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