For the longest time, it looked like Canadian Premier League players were going to face a legal challenge in their attempt to form a union.
The majority of the league's players voted to join The Professional Footballers Association Canada (PFACan) prior to the start of the 2020 season. Since then, PFACan reached out to the CPL on several occasions about receiving automatic recognition as a players' union, thus avoiding a legal battle, only to be rebuffed by the league. But earlier this month, the CPL released a statement that it had agreed to exploratory discussions regarding collective bargaining with PFACan once the 2021 season concluded.
It should be noted that nothing is agreed upon yet - the league has simply said it will come to the table to talk, although commissioner David Clanachan dropped several hints in the buildup to the CPL Final that the league is committed to working something out with PFACan, and that the players' union will become a reality.
In part 1 of a one-on-one Q&A with TFC Republic, PFACan legal counsel Paul Champ discusses where things stand with the players forming a union, the upcoming talks with the league and the road ahead, the issues foremost on the minds of players, his views on how the CPL has dealt with players in terms of contracts, and how he feels the league can be more transparent.