Farhan Lalji: Teams are Confused about how Canadian Ratio rule will be Implemented

The issue is development. Canada doesn’t have the grass roots football infrastructure to produce the volume of high quality coaches (and players) that would be required. It would water down the league, and create even more disparity in on-field product than exists now.


It's a tough chicken-and-egg situation, IMO. I think creating more coaching positions for Canadians in the CFL would help foster grassroots football, which would mean we'd get more and better players and coaches (with a greater appreciation of the Canadian game) down the road.


Absolutely. The reverse is true for the number of Canadian hockey coaches working in the US. I don’t hear US fans complaining about that.

My position remains to do what is best for the game by employing the most talented people possible, both as coaches and on the field. I would love it if all top Hollywood actors were Canadian, but that won’t ever happen for the same reasons. Nevertheless there are no rules keeping non Americans out of Hollywood if they are good enough actors.

Doing that in the CFL is nonsensical given Canadian football infrastructure as you point out. It waters down the quality of the on field product and screws with the salary cap by overpaying Canadian O linemen for example. Besides, the ever changing Canadian definition is a farce and the CFL is littered with fake Canadians. The top “Canadian” in last year’s Grey Cup was born in Africa.


I agree that some who qualify as Nationals are "fake Canadians", but I don't think many would disapprove of Muamba qualifying as one since (though he was born in Africa) he grew up here and played his amateur football here.

I would agree that Henoc is more Canadian than some other “Canadians” as determined by the rules. The problem I am trying to highlight is the slippery slope that exists once artificial rules are made up to designate who is Canadian and who is not. The rules have changed many times. I have made jests about being designated Canadian if your American mother once rode the Toronto subway and took a correspondence course from a Canadian based institution. While this may not be literally true, it shows how the made up ever changing definition of Canadian is arbitrary and of little real value in my opinion.

An example from Hollywood comes to mind. You may have heard of the actress Anna Paquin of True Blood fame who won an Oscar at the age of 11. She was born in Winnipeg but moved to New Zealand at such a young age that she won’t even remember Winnipeg. She was raised in New Zealand and is now comfortably ensconced in the US and has been for some time. She is technically a Canadian citizen by birth but hardly a Canadian in reality.

I just think the whole nationality classification thing is silly and inaccurate and doesn’t help the CFL on field product or truly reflect what is Canadian about the game or who is Canadian. I would argue that an American born player who lives in Canada year round is more “Canadian” than a Canadian born player that lives in the US in the off season.


I'm definitely in favour of tightening up the definition of National. I think that no matter how you slice it Muamba would qualify, but yeah guys like Alex Singleton probably shouldn't.


put the best players possible on the field.

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There's all kinds of Canadians working in Hollywood movies & TV (actors, comedians, technicians) and that's because there are all sorts of Canadians getting to make Hollywood decisions in who they choose or like to work there.

This factor for the CFL is just not grasped by the CFL "ratio problem" cry-babies and those who like to crap on Canadian football talent.

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nobody is crapping on canadian football talent or the the CFL. and you really don't need to throw insults or names at people with opposing ideas or arguments in order to make your point.


Yeah this is a discussion and I can tell you there is nothing personal about my position.

Yes there are plenty of Canadians (and people from other countries) in Hollywood and that is because they earned the right to be there. If there was a quota system as there is in the CFL many of those wouldn’t have even been given the opportunity.

I’m not afraid as a Canadian to compete with people from other countries based on merit in order to put the best possible product on the field. I see no need for a Soviet style egg marketing board type system.

If a Canadian O lineman that is not as good as an American player or is equal earns $50,000-$100,000 more solely because of their passport that obviously waters down the quality of the on field product. That money under the salary cap could be used instead to build a better team. The CFL is supposed to be a pro league, not a protectionist charity.

The NHL went from about 80% Canadian not that long ago to about 50% Canadian today. The on ice product player wise is better as a result and no one is complaining about the relative drop in Canadians.

The better the players the more interest in the game. The more interest the greater likelihood of expansion. Once expansion takes place there will be more jobs for Canadians available. It would be great to have all Canadians but the population and football infrastructure in Canada will never support that. And almost all of the all time great CFL players have been American.

I don’t get your point.


Using Hollywood as a standard:



I like this concept but think 6 Canadians on the field at all time is a stretch - 4 Canadians would be more realistic. It is a simple concept that fans could understand.


welcome @fredbf :slightly_smiling_face: thanks for posting!


No, you certainly do not; no need to discuss further.

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"Scouting Director with the Toronto Argonauts, Vince Magri said he thinks the Canadian ratio is good for the game and good for the league.

“As has been pointed out before, it gives our young football players in this country from grassroots all the way up to U Sports something to aspire to, which can keep them engaged not just during their playing days, but long after, hopefully keeping their friends and families engaged as well,” he said.

“Plus, as we’ve seen with some of the most iconic players in the history of the league, it isn’t always a talent difference, sometimes it’s been a lack of development and opportunity for the Canadian players, and if we take away the opportunity and stunt the development, who knows where some of the great Canadian players in our league would be.”


But do our young athletes aspire to the CFL, even with the ratio?

Every young player I talk to or hear from aspires to play for the Rams over the Riders, or the Bengals over the TiCats. Take Rourke as an example... Canadian kid, and talked openly of his NFL dream even while playing in the CFL. There's quite a number of Canadians currently in the NFL, all because that's where they dreamed of going.

American players come to Canada because they chased the NFL dream, and now they need a job. Canadian kids go to the States because the CFL is a job, but the dream is down south.


True, but the reality is in Canada.

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But the article you posted justified the reason for the ratio as giving Canadian athletes something to aspire to. I'm questioning whether it actually performs this task, as even with the ratio, aspirations seem to be directed elsewhere.

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The reality is you can't make money in Canada as a football player.

Rourke has been in the US since the age of 14 as his family moved down south to pursue opportunities.

SFU shutting down their football team tells you all you need to know about the challenges facing grassroots in Canadian Football infrastructure.

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You left off half of the quote

"which can keep them engaged not just during their playing days, but long after, hopefully keeping their friends and families engaged as well,” he said.