“Our talks with the XFL, exploring the potential for collaboration and innovation, have been positive and constructive,” the CFL said in a statement. “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.”
Former WWE star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, his business partner Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital Partners chief executive Gerry Cardinale bought the XFL last August after the beleaguered league filed for bankruptcy in March 2020 due the COVID-19 pandemic. While they had hoped to reboot the league by next year, the league is now pushing back its timeline, targeting spring 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. “We look forward to seeing everyone for kickoff in spring of 2023.”
Johnson had a brief stint in the CFL, playing for the Calgary Stampeders after going undrafted in the 1995 NFL Draft, but he was released from the practice roster after two months.
The Edmonton Elks Football Club, one of nine teams in the CFL, expressed happiness that talks between the leagues had collapsed. “The Edmonton Elks Football Club is pleased by Wednesday’s announcement by the CFL that discussions with the XFL have ended,” the team said in a statement. “The Elks remain fully committed to the CFL and our treasured brand of Canadian Football.”
The CFL canceled its 2020 campaign due to the pandemic but is scheduled to begin its 14-game season on Aug. 5, with training camps opening this weekend.
(This article has been updated with an official statement from the XFL.)