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CFL players ratify collective bargaining agreement

The CFL Players' Association on Thursday voted to accept the five-year contract reached Saturday with the CFL.

CFL Board of Governors expected to sign off Friday

The Grey Cup champion Saskatchewan Roughriders and other CFL players have been taking part in training camps while a new labour deal is completed. (Liam Richards/Canadian Press)

The CFL Players' Association has voted to accept a new collective bargaining agreement with the league.

The union said in a statement Thursday night that 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!

"It's time to get back to football! .Everybodywins."

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.

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 cap or entire agreement renegotiated if league revenues increased by more than $18 million — 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.

Toronto Argonauts players met Wednesday night to discuss the agreement and centre Jeff Keeping, a member of the union executive, said good questions were asked.

"I'm happy the guys have all the facts," Keeping said. "I feel at the end of the day the guys are more informed than they were prior to that.

"The mood is mixed. Guys are entitled to their own opinion and every man is going to make his own choice.".

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