What Constitutes a National Player?

Can someone please explain to me the definition of a National Player. Someone mentioned to me that in the past a player fell into the definition of being a National Player if they had played in the league for five years. Is that still the case? Otherwise, is it a simple function of citizenship?



There's more to it I think still now than only citizenship. Someone who knows more here I think will be able to explain.

Also now there is a new designation for Global players, who are not Americans or Canadians and as I understand previously were not always considered "Imports" under the old rules and designations.

The "Naturalized American" disappeared long ago ...

Here’s the current definition, from the 2014 CFLPA-CFL Collective bargaining Agreement (didn’t change this year):

6. The following Players shall be classified as National Players:

(a) Canadian citizens at the time of signing the Player’s first C.F.L. Standard Player Contract or Practice Roster Agreement;

(b) A Player classified as a National (formerly non-import) prior to May 31st, 2014; or

© A Player who was physically resident in Canada for an aggregate period of five years prior to attaining the age of 18 years.

The previous import rules were a bizarre definition based on years living in Canada, and where they received their early football training. I think there are currently two players who are grandfathered in according to rule (b), one of whom is Josh Bartel, who really pushed that definition. He is Australian, and never played North American football until he was in his twenties. But because he had never played football in the U.S. (obviously), he was deemed a non-import. I can’t remember who the other player is.

As mentioned earlier, the rule you referred to that allowed American players to become naturalized non-imports (playing in the league for long enough) was eliminated years ago.

In the most recent CBA they essentially brought it back, but I’m not sure if that means starting from this year, or if it will be retroactive.

I haven’t seen the text of the latest CBA, but yes, I’ve heard that there was something added this year about an injured national starter able to be replaced by a veteran international. From what I’ve read here, this comes into effect next year. The way I interpret it is that it would be an alternative to the existing rule for dealing with injured nationals, where teams can adjust the number of internationals on each side of the ball as long as the injured player does not return to the game.

Haven't been able to find the actual text of the agreement ... but the TSN report said:

According to two sources, the proposed three-year deal includes a new ratio for three American starters who have been with a team for three seasons or have four years of combined CFL experience. The clause would prevent clubs from being able to replace the three with younger, less expensive players.
Not only would it give the American players more job security but also helps a team build continuity ...
The tentative deal also leaves the Canadian ratio intact. A CFL team's 44-man game-day roster must consist of 21 Canucks, of which seven must be starters on offence or defence.

Three Down nation summarized it as follows:

I thus take it to mean that the change is added restrictions on the American ratio to ensure continuity in the veteran American presence

That’s a refreshing change it sounds like to me, but wow will this get more confusing with the following apparent designations and associated rules:

Veteran American