The possibility of the Canadian Football League and the XFL forming a partnership has been put on ice. After releasing statements back in March revealing that the two leagues have entered formal talks to “identify potential opportunities for the leagues to collaborate, innovate, and grow the game of football” they have since announced those talks have been put on pause.
“Our talks with the XFL, exploring the potential for collaboration and innovation, have been positive and constructive,” the CFL said in a statement released on Wednesday. “While we remain open to finding new ways to work together in the future, we and our XFL counterparts have jointly decided to not pursue any formal arrangements at this time.
“We at the CFL are now squarely focused on preparing for Aug. 5 and the start of our 2021 regular season, which will culminate Dec. 12 with the playing of the 108th Grey Cup in Hamilton, Ontario. We are looking forward to this year and a bright future for our league.”
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Both leagues felt the wrath of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last year and a half. The XFL was midway through its first season after nearly a 20-year hiatus, but stopped play due to the pandemic and eventually went bankrupt. They’ve since been taken over by new ownership headlined by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Talks of returning to play were originally put “on hold” as the conversations with the CFL unfolded but now the XFL aims to get back on the field in the spring of 2023.
“While our discussions with the CFL did not ultimately lead to a collaboration, the effort reinforced our belief and commitment to developing the XFL for international spring football,” the XFL said in a statement obtained by Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal. “We look forward to seeing everyone for kickoff in spring of 2023.”
As for the CFL, the pandemic forced the league to cancel its 2020 season.
While there may not be a collaboration between these two leagues right now, the CFL’s statement does leave a glimmer of hope for some sort of partnership down the road. For talks to spark back up again, however, it’ll likely take both leagues to actually get some games under their belt to set a better foundation when speaking of a possible marriage.