Vancouver, British Columbia – The Canadian Rugby Football League has taken the unprecedented step of bringing back some members of its senior ranks for a reunion.
The CFL announced the plan on Wednesday and would announce it to the public next week.
The league announced it will hold a reunion of former players in 2019, when the league will play its 50th season in 2017.
The announcement comes after a year of tension between former players and the league.
The Canadian Rugby Players’ Association called the league’s decision to allow reunion of players “the latest example of disrespect” and a “fool’s errand.”CFL president and CEO David Coates said the league wants to bring in former players to work with the league, as well as the players themselves, to get a better understanding of what it’s like to be a veteran player in today’s game.
“When we talk about the game we’re talking about, we want players that are well versed in the game that can provide us with valuable insight and advice on how to better prepare them for their future,” Coates told reporters in Vancouver.
The union also called for the league to provide more information about the conditions players face during their career and to have the league be transparent about its compensation plans.CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie told reporters the league is “committed to finding ways to keep players in the league and to help them grow in their careers.”
The league also announced that the league plans to launch a program to help retired players find a job and that it is looking at recruiting coaches to help players prepare for their careers.
“This is the next step in our collective commitment to finding the best way to provide our players with a better opportunity to compete in the future,” Ambrosies said in a statement.
“The CFL is committed to working with all levels of the game, including our players, to create a successful future for our game and our players.”
The CFL will hold the reunion in 2019 at the BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, and the players will get together with the coaching staff and the coaches for the first time, the league said.