The CFL has announced a ‘strategic football partnership’ with the
German Football League (GFL).
The new partnership will see an as yet undetermined but one imagines small number of German Football League players attend an international combine in Toronto in March.
“We will share resources with the aim of helping each other on the football and business sides of our two leagues,” said CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie.
The New Partners
The German Football League (GFL) has 16 teams with a second tier league featuring a further 16 teams. It is arguably Europe’s most advanced and talent deep american football league.
The GFL was formed in 1979 with only six teams. The games are played to rules based on those of the American NCAA system.
The GFL has its own ratio system in place for roster building. Since 2011
clubs have been able to sign up up to ten non-EU players. Six may be in the line-up for any given game but only two can be on the field at any given time.
These restrictions are aimed at reducing US, Canadian, Mexican and Japanese influence. This is designed to prevent wealthier clubs from recruiting large numbers of players from established American football playing countries.
Ambrosie is scheduled to tour France, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden during an international tour. He will be looking to make further agreements. If he does he will be issuing invitations for those countries to send their best players to the March combine also.
Perhaps this would be followed by an international draft. Much as we had the draft for Mexican players.
Ambrosie is on record saying he wants to double league revenues and raise the global profile of the CFL. In time perhaps a CFL game could be played in Mexico too.
Some of this may be getting ready for CBA. Some of it may be getting ready to deal with a potential talent drain to the likes of the AAF and other coming leagues.
A UK View
Where does this leave the UK? Well most people here won’t be paying much attention to any of this. That is because the NFL dominates the consciousness of the UK domestic market.
Nobody would be looking at graduating from the Britball scene to the CFL. The dream is to follow the likes of Efe Obada. He became the first international player to go straight from a European league to the NFL.
Obviously as a fan of the CFL I would love to see the league be followed more here. It is surely currently the top American football league in the world outside of the US.
The ongoing TV deals states ‘BT Sport will feature coverage of up to 85 CFL games per season’ and that can only help grow the leagues’ presence. Especially as it means we get football in summer!
So the UK may nit be too involved for some time. Long-term who knows? As ever it will be fun watching this all play out.
Banner image from sikids.com