Going global: CFL 2.0

Going global: CFL 2.0
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When Randy Ambrosie was appointed as CFL commissioner he began by setting a very positive tone. Interviewed on cfl.ca he noted, “My professional life has been marked by my passion for Canadian football and my passion for building businesses. It’s a dream come true to be able to combine these on behalf of the CFL.”

Perhaps even more tellingly Ambrosie finished by saying, “I know from experience that football is the ultimate team sport…I’m confident that by working together, we can ensure this great league reaches its full potential.”

That enthusiastic confidence from the commissioner allowed fans to be optimistic about the future. As Samuel Johnson said, ‘Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings’. Now it appears that Ambrosie’s ambition and confidence are to translate into a tangible undertaking for the league.

An international approach

Earlier this month the CFL commissioner unveiled plans for what he called CFL 2.0. A cornerstone of that plan was to create partnerships with american football leagues in 30 countries around the world.

Ambrosie recently wrote a piece for cfl.ca extolling the merits of the CFL 2.0 plan. For a fan based in the UK the most interesting aspects were about plans for a greater ‘international presence’. The key points being building bridges with countries, outside of North America, that play american football.

There is a suggestion of helping leagues, by sharing the expertise of CFL coaches, officials and staff. There is also a suggestion that ‘the best players from the world beyond the U.S. and Canada’ could be invited to vie to play in the CFL. As well as suggesting potential linking of CFL teams to affiliated teams around the world.

I have no idea how that would work in practice of course. It was notable though that one of the countries name checked was the UK. (he said England but I guess he meant the UK where BAFA is based).

Early talk about the CFL 2.0 plan certainly seemed to indicate they were thinking about player exchange schemes. The CFL would also look at recruiting players from non-traditional gridiron football countries to play in Canada.

Ambrosie recently took a trip to Mexico to meet with officials from the LFA, the Liga de Football Americano (or Mexican Football League), to discuss ways to grow the game together. No formal agreement between the leagues is in place yet.

It is fascinating to think about how the CFL would go about partnering with football leagues in places like Mexico, as well as Europe and beyond. You would think pro leagues would be their first target and because of that the UK would be a lower priority perhaps.

It is too early to say how any of this will play out. It will be interesting to see it all unfold though. Watch this space!

Image from cfl.ca

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