THE CFL Players’ Association Apply for Judicial Review of Williams’ Arbitration Decision

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The CFL Players’ Association has reviewed the decision of Arbitrator E.E. Palmer, Q.C., in which he found that the contract between Chris Williams and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats was valid. While the CFLPA is respectful of the arbitration process, given the potential implications of this decision on all CFL Players, the CFLPA will be proceeding with an application for judicial review of the decision.

Despite the fact that Mr. Palmer found that the Tiger-Cats had breached the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the CFL and the CFLPA by negotiating Williams’ contract with an unregistered Agent, he ruled that Williams’ contract was legal and binding.

An agent who is registered with the CFLPA must have a solid understanding of the CBA, the CFL Standard Player Contract, and CFL salaries. In order to be a registered agent, the individual must provide evidence of that knowledge by successfully completing a CFLPA administered test. This knowledge allows the agent to provide appropriate guidance to CFL players as they negotiate with respective CFL Clubs.

The CFLPA’s position is that CFL Clubs who negotiate with unregistered agents are at a distinct advantage in those discussions, and are depriving the CFL Player involved, regardless of who the player is, of his right to be represented by an agent who is familiar with the normal protocol of CFL Standard Player Contracts. In negotiating a player’s rookie contract it is especially critical that CFL Clubs ensure that they are dealing with a registered agent as required by the CBA to ensure that the player’s rights are protected and that a final contract is in the player’s best interests.

The CFLPA believes a judicial review of this decision is critical to ensure that there is legal clarity prior to entering into upcoming CBA negotiations with the CFL.

The CFLPA will make no further public comments regarding the Chris Williams case while the case is before the Court.

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