XFL in talks with CFL to partner on returning to field after COVID-19 cancellations

Cassandra Negley
·2 min read

The XFL and Canadian Football League (CFL) are engaging in "formal talks" to potentially partner on a return to play after both football leagues canceled their 2020 seasons because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The XFL released a statement saying the new owners have started talks with CFL officials to "identify potential opportunities for the leagues to collaborate, innovate, and grow the game of football."

Statements by CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie and XFL chairwoman/owner Dany Garcia did not mention mergers, instead focusing on shared visions, values and innovations.

XFL eyeing return under new ownership

Garcia and her business partner, Dwayne Johnson, purchased the XFL in August. They made the move for a reported price of $15 million hours before the bankrupt organization was headed to auction.

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"Since we first acquired the XFL, we have focused on identifying partners who share our vision and values on and off the field," Garcia said in a statement. "A vision filled with opportunity, innovation and the highest level of entertainment value for the benefit of our athletes, fans and communities. The CFL has expressed that similar sentiment and jointly we recognize a great opportunity to build exciting innovative football experiences that make the most of each league's unique strengths. I look forward to our continued discussions and we will update the sports community as we have more to share.”

The XFL had a promising return in 2020 until the COVID-19 pandemic forced the league to shut down. It made it through five games and shortly after announcing the cancellation, the organization entered bankruptcy.

The owners said late last year there would be no 2021 season and said in a statement on Wednesday the 2022 season is on hold "pending the outcome of our conversations with the CFL."

CFL set to play 2021 season

The CFL season is scheduled to begin June 10 after canceling its season when it failed to secure $30 million in financial aid from the Canadian government.

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“Canada has an exciting game and devoted fans, and our discussion with the XFL provides a tremendous opportunity to build on that strong foundation," Ambroise said in a statement. "We look forward to exploring how we might work with one of the most innovative sports brands in the world to grow the game, engage fans in new ways, and reach new audiences. We look forward to seeing what possibilities our discussions might uncover, and to sharing those with our fans as the process unfolds.”

Preseason games are slated to begin for the CFL in May, but as everyone has come to realize over the past year nothing is set in stone.

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