Gridiron football leaders from Canada and France meet to discuss next steps for partnership

TORONTO (October 4, 2019) – The French American Football Federation and the Canadian Football League (CFL) will hold a CFL Combine in Paris for top French players in the new year.

Representatives of the two organizations have finalized plans to invite the Top-20 French players with aspirations to play professionally in Canada to a French Combine on January 17.

They also explored how the top league in France can reserve spots for Canadian players following their U SPORTS or junior careers.

“We are sharing today a vision for the future,” said Pierre Trochet, Head of Business Operations and International Relationships for the French federation.

Randy Ambrosie, Commissioner of the CFL, said today’s meeting covered a range of issues starting with football, but also extending to sponsorships, content, broadcast, marketing and licensing.

“As with all of our international partners, we want to build a ‘win-win’ with French gridiron football that grows the game in both France and Canada.”

The French combine will be one of a series of CFL Combines planned for Europe, Mexico and other regions.

Topics discussed include:

  • Developing a broadcast and content strategy that connects the CFL to the estimated five million gridiron football fans in France, starting as early as 2020.
  • The possibility of playing a CFL game in France by 2023.
  • A visit of top CFL football operation executives to a French boarding school devoted to educating and developing young football prospects.
  • Marketing the five French-born players currently playing in the CFL as “Team France CFL” in Europe.

This season, for the first time, the CFL included designated “global players” from countries beyond the U.S. and Canada on its nine teams’ rosters.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats linebacker Valentin Gnahoua was the first player taken last spring in the CFL’s first Global Draft.

The remaining French-born CFL players are Edmonton Eskimos linebacker Maxime Rouyer, BC Lions receiver Benjamin Plu, Calgary Stampeders running back Asnnel Robo and Montreal Alouettes kicker Boris Bede.

Next year, the number of global players on CFL rosters will grow to up-to-five per team – two on the active roster and up-to-three on the practice roster.

The CFL has also partnered with the leading gridiron football federations and leagues in Mexico, Austria, Great Britain, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Norway and Sweden, and is in discussions with others.

Lucas Barrett

Manager, Communications & Public Affairs, Canadian Football League

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