After months of speculation, the CFL has announced that they have ended negotiations with the XFL to potentially merge leagues. Here’s the run down of the situation.
This morning, the CFL announced that a potential CFL-XFL merger has failed to come together as the leagues have ended negotiations… for now.
This all started in March 2021, when the leagues announced that they were beginning negotiations to pursue a formal partnership. The CFL, struggling for funds to play the 2021 season, appeared to be the desperate end. As I wrote previously last month, the CFL has been denied relief funds from the Canadian government and is currently operating in the red. A 2021 season is paramount to the survival of the league.
Initially, it appeared as though the potential merger would be constructed around keeping the CFL alive while boosting the XFL into existence. For now, it appears the two sides couldn’t agree.
What halted a CFL-XFL merger?
The CFL commissioner, Randy Ambrosie, said that the talks were all positive. “Our talks with the XFL, exploring the potential for collaboration and innovation, have been positive and constructive,” he said in his statement. “While we remain open to finding new ways to work together in the future, we and our XFL counterparts have jointly decided to not pursue any formal arrangements at this time.”
From the outside looking in, it appears that the merger could have been potentially held by the fact that the XFL is unprepared to kick off in 2022. In fact, the XFL’s Official Twitter updated their banner photo today to show “kicking off 2023.” With a league on the brink of survival, the XFL Owners could have wanted the CFL to help finance the reboot of the XFL and as a result, failed to push forward negotiations.
Were the leagues negotiating the change Canadian football?
Throughout the process, it’s been rumored that the XFL wanted to amend the rulebook on Canadian football, a game that has been around for 100 years. This would make some sense, as the XFL is the league with big money backing it – money from big-name sources like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. They would have more say over how the rulebook should be converted to merge the leagues.
The Canadian teams were not fond of this possibility. This might have been confirmed with the Edmonton Elks social media response to the failed negotiations. “The Elks remain fully committed to the CFL and our treasured brand of football,” they announced.
The CFL plans to kick their season off on August 5th and play through December.