CPL Agrees To Begin Discussions With Prospective Players Union
For the first time in the history of Canada’s top flight domestic league, the Canadian Premier League has confirmed that it has held discussions with PFA Canada – and more are coming.
The league released a statement stating that it had agreed to further exploratory discussions regarding collective bargaining, something which the prospective union has been aiming for ever since it revealed itself last April following a league-imposed 25% salary deferral for players that was later turned into a permanent cut.
The statement from the league reads as follows:
The Canadian Premier League has had discussions with Professional Footballers Association Canada (PFACan). We have agreed to enter into exploratory discussions about a future possible collective bargaining relationship and look forward to more conversation.Canadian Premier League
While the statement isn’t indicative that any true progress has been made – it’s just confirmation that further discussions will occur, after all – the fact that it CPL has publicly assuaged concerned fans with such a message is food for thought.
The 2021 CPL season saw landmark moments in terms of the push for union representation, with players taking to the pitch wearing pro-union attire and several athletes anonymously telling Northern Tribune their side of the story as the bubbled segment of the season came to a close.
The players association has received plenty of public support both globally and domestically, with PFA Canada attaining FIFPRO Membership in February, a statement of support from CPL supporters’ groups in March, and a partnership agreement with the CPSA in October.
Here’s what PFA Canada had to say regarding the announcement:
This is a great moment for CPL players who have been pushing for a voice and representation with the League. PFACan looks forward to positive discussions with the Canadian Premier League and reaching a collective agreement to improve the terms and conditions for all players.PFA Canada
While what happens next remains to be seen, both PFA Canada and the players in which it hopes to represent have made it clear that they don’t aim to ‘bite the hand that feeds’, per se: they want a voice at the table, and to have it heard in league-wide decision making.
While salaries are evidently an ongoing issue for the league (and have led to several athletes retiring in their prime), those kind of discussions are likely to be tabled until after the league’s players, first and foremost, get a voice at the table.
Canadian Premier League Commissioner David Clanachan has stated that the league’s current salary cap will be raised for the 2022 season, though no information about that has come as of yet.