CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie addresses the media during the State of the League news conference at Grey Cup week in Edmonton, Friday, November 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Canadian football organizations present Ambrosie with rules suggestions in XFL talks

Canadian football organizations present Ambrosie with rules suggestions in XFL talks

Amateur football organizations in Canada want CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie to maintain Canadian football’s traditional components and the league’s Canadian ratio in its partnership talks with the XFL.

Last week, U Sports, the Canadian Junior Football League, Canadian Football Officials Association and Football Canada sent a joint policy letter to Ambrosie for consideration. In a copy obtained by The Canadian Press, the organizations uniformly requested the CFL “remains committed to the essential rule components of Canadian Football within Canada.”

That includes “traditional field width and length, goal line to goal line,” as well as “12 players aside.”

The letter also requests the CFL “remains committed to the participation and development of the Canadian athlete in their sport within Canada by maintaining the current mandate of starter and roster positions for National players.”

CFL teams must have at least 21 Canadians on game-day rosters with at least seven being starters.

The policy letter was clear its points were for Ambrosie’s consideration and not demands.

“We support dialogue at all levels to further promote the sport,” the letter said. “We respect the requirements of professional football to seek paths to greater sustainability and profitability.

“We value the interdependent relationship between professional and amateur football as a path to mutual growth.”

The CFL did not immediate return a message asking if Ambrosie had received the letter.

There was no mention in the policy regarding either the Canada’s traditional 20-yard end zones or implementation of three or four downs.

The absence of the latter wasn’t a surprise. Both versions are played in this country at the grassroots level, although the CFL plays with three downs.

Last month, the CFL and XFL announced they were entering serious discussions on a potential partnership. Ambrosie said Wednesday talks between the two leagues have dealt with the financial logistics of a partnership and not about such things as rules or field size.

A source said the XFL’s rules committee includes Dwayne Johnson, the mega star actor who’s also an XFL co-owner. Johnson, a former defensive lineman at the University of Miami, spent time on Calgary’s practice roster in 1995 but neve appeared in a regular-season game with the Stampeders.

After being released by Calgary, Johnson embarked on a very successful career in professional wrestling before becoming an actor.

The source spoke on the condition of anonymity as neither the CFL nor the XFL have commented publicly about the specifics of their talks or who sits on the various committees. Johnson has not responded to a request by The Canadian Press for comment.

The CFL-XFL announcement prompted many fans in Canada to voice concerns on social media about how a partnership could negatively impact the Canadian game. It’s a fact not lost upon the Canadian amateur organizations.

“In our view, maintaining the essential components of the Canadian rules in terms of field dimensions and player complement would allow for amateur football to continue without redevelopment of infrastructure, which is costly in terms of all resource metrics,” the organizations said in their policy letter. “At a time when university and junior programs are challenged on numerous fronts, it is in the interest of the sport to be part of an ecosystem that delivers outcomes for athletes within Canada.

“The CFL plays an essential role in long-term athletic development and football infrastructure in Canada. However, the potential of dramatic changes to the Canadian game at the professional level could damage the stability of many aspects and operations of the sport.

“We would appreciate an ongoing dialogue to clarify the impact of proposed changes at the professional level on the amateur level.”

Especially given the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on tackle football in Canada. The novel coronavirus effectively forced a shutdown of that game across the country in 2020.

The CFL is expecting to resume play in 2021, but last week pushed back the start of its regular season from June 10 to Aug. 5 due the novel coronavirus. Ambrosie was emphatic the revision was a ‘“target date” subject to change based upon the global pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 26, 2021.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

file photo
PM tells Canadians to prepare for one-dose summer, two-dose fall

Chief Public Health Officer says 75 per cent getting first dose is target to avoid fourth wave

Chris Scott, owner of the Whistle Stop Cafe, speaks during a rally against measures taken by government and health authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19 at his cafe in Mirror on Saturday. The Whistle Stop was shut down by AHS for not complying with COVID-19 rules. (Photo by The Canadian Press)
Central Alberta café owner and COVID-19 protester released from custody

Chris Scott was arrested at protest rally outside his cafe on Saturday

Free items can be left in front of homes during this weekend’s Kick it to the Curb event. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Kick It to the Curb runs this weekend in Red Deer

Unwanted items can be left by the curb this weekend in Red… Continue reading

Alberta Minister of Health Tyler Shandro announced Wednesday that Alberta Health will give rapid COVID-19 tests to a local chamber of commerce, who will then distribute them to local businesses. (Photo by Paul Taillon/Office of the Premier)
Businesses to get access to rapid COVID-19 tests through local chamber of commerce

Alberta Health is partnering with the Alberta Chamber of Commerce to deliver… Continue reading

A 2018 Jayco Pinnacle fifth wheel model 37MDQS valued at over $100,000 was stolen from Masco RV Storage in Wetaskiwin earlier this week. (Photo courtesy of Wetaskiwin RCMP)
A 2018 Jayco Pinnacle fifth wheel model 37MDQS valued at over $100,000 was stolen from Masco RV Storage in Wetaskiwin earlier this week. (Photo courtesy of Wetaskiwin RCMP)
Fifth wheel RV stolen from Wetaskiwin RV Storage compound

Wetaskiwin RCMP is looking for information about a stolen RV. A break-in… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Here is a list of latest COVID-19 restrictions in effect in Alberta

New mandatory health restrictions are now in effect in Alberta. Additional restrictions… Continue reading

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) celebrates with defenseman Victor Hedman (77) after the team defeated the Dallas Stars during an NHL hockey game Wednesday, May 5, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
Analysis: McDavid NHL’s MVP front-runner in condensed season

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid has 100-plus point season

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (36) makes a save as Maple Leafs defenceman TJ Brodie (78) and Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli (73) look for the rebound during first period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Saturday, May 8, 2021. The Leafs and the Canadiens will meet in the playoffs for the first time in 42 years when the 2020-21 NHL post-season gets underway.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Singer Celine Dion performs during her first World Tour show called Courage Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at the Videotron Centre in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Songbird Uncaged: Celine Dion readies return to Las Vegas stage for 10-date run

Starting on Nov. 5, Dion will play 10 dates at the Resorts World Las Vegas theatre

An Empire Day/Victoria Day gathering of school children on Ross Street by the Cenotaph in the 1920s. On the right hand side, are members of the Red Deer Citizens Band (forerunner of the Red Deer Royals). (Photo via Red Deer Archives)
Victoria Day event helped after war

One hundred years ago, on May 24, 1921, a major community event… Continue reading

Gwynne Dyer
Gwynne Dyer: Independence is a one-way gate

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland declared in 2014 that the referendum… Continue reading

Boston Bruins left wing Nick Ritchie (21) and Washington Capitals defenseman Brenden Dillon (4) battle for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, May 11, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Raffl’s late goal pushes Capitals past Bruins, 2-1

Raffl’s late goal pushes Capitals past Bruins, 2-1

Chicago Blackhawks left wing Alex DeBrincat (12) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers in Chicago, Saturday, May 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Toews’ question chases Chicago Blackhawks into offseason

Toews’ question chases Chicago Blackhawks into offseason

Most Read