NFLPA believes it can block a move to London


As the Vikings and Steelers prepared to play last Sunday in Wembley Stadium, the periodic reports and speculation of the potential relocation of a franchise to London naturally emerged.  When the Jaguars and 49ers head there later this month (assuming the Jags don’t simply fold up shop after what happens to them at Denver in 11 days), those same stories likely will once again bubble up.

But as the NFL continues to dangle the carrot of a full-time team in London, there’s one important point to keep in mind.  The players believe they have the ability to block it.

More than a few players have said they’d quit football before playing for a London-based NFL team.  (Though we doubt that would happen, it definitely would make it harder to lure free agents.)  Per a league source, all players possibly would have the ability to block the move, through their union.

The NFLPA believes that the league can’t move a team to London without approval from the union.  The NFLPA regards the change in workplace conditions to be a mandatory subject of bargaining, which means that the NFL would have to raise it with the union and the two sides would have to come to some sort of an agreement regarding the concessions the league will make in order to permit a team to move to London.

It’s possible that the NFLPA simply will never agree to a London move.  If the board of player representatives and the union’s Executive Committee realize that any of them could be traded to the London team, or could have a London-based team as their only option for ongoing NFL employment via free agency, keeping a team out of London would keep that from ever happening.

The union, we’re told, has no objection to the current approach, which entails exporting two games per year to London.  (By next year, it could be three.)  But there will become a point — presumably when one team starts playing more than one game per year in London — when the union reminds the league that the NFLPA has direct say over whether the London experiment will become something more than a small smattering of games played there.

31 responses to “NFLPA believes it can block a move to London

  1. Enough of the full time team in London. Travel would be a nightmare! It’s bad enough to screw up teams by sending them over there as it is.

  2. When the dollars start to flow from the European market the NFLPA will quickly change their stance. The merchandise sales and TV deals will add substantial dollars to the total revenue, thereby leading to additional raises for the players.

    The League will, in turn, make a concession for “international” players. They will get an extra $75-100k a year outside normal compensation and not included in the cap for the nuisance of spending eight weeks a year in England. The team will almost certainly have a base in the US for the purpose of training camp and to practice out of while they are on extended US road trips.

    But way to flex your muscle, NFLPA.

  3. If there is a full time team in London I think it will be a failure. The players AND a large percentage of fans don’t want a full time team there. See NFL Europe as an example of what could happen.

  4. How us it that unions around the country are rapidly losing clout but not the nflpa? And for that matter how does the union cover it’s “workers” that play in right to work states? Unions have no power in those states yet it doesn’t seem to effect those teams that play in those states. I’m just curious.

  5. GODdell needs to give up this idiotic pipe dream. No one, other than him, wants a London team.

  6. No way should the NFLPA have any say, WHATSOVER, regarding a business’ decision to expand, where it relocates, and how many games it plays. Unions have once again, overstepped their bounds, and are trying to run the show. If they don’t like what businesses do, then they should try to run one of their own, and run it as they see fit. Until then, they need to hike the damned ball and play the game for which they’re handsomely compensated.

  7. A London franchise would end up being a perpetual albatross around the neck of the league. American players want to play football in America. They are not going to be willing to play for franchise that (to the players) essentially plays all of its games on the road.

    The NFL can’t even land a franchise in Los Angeles, our nation’s second largest city. Why the infatuation with London?

  8. The field at Wembley measures 160 by 300 feet, the same as in any other NFL stadium. How is that a change in “workplace conditions?”

  9. I’ve often thought the best way to get football in London or LA, short of a team moving, is to have a series a 4 games at each site a year, 8 games total.

    That would be 16 teams each year traveling to neutral site. 8 of those teams would lose a home date. So you setup a rotation where each team travels to either LA or LON every other year, and you lose a home game every 4th year.

    It wouldn’t be too dissimilar from the current mandate of every team appearing once on a Thursday, it would just be another special circumstance in how the schedule is made.

  10. What the NFPLA seem to underestimate and what might make them change their stance is that a London based team basically would have to follow the employment rules of the European Union. And that these rules are much more to the benefit of the players than what is currently happening in the US. To us europeans it is inconceivable that a worker (no matter what the profession) can be unilaterally put in unemployment without any form of compensation, as so regularly happens in the NFL.

    The NFL might soon find itself with a Bosman ruling (just look it up on google) of its own if ever it would move a team to London. It would fundamentally change the whole economics of the game.

  11. Instead of putting a team permanently in London, why not make this thing equal and have every team play one London game every other year, which equals 8 London games per year?

    Or if you really want to get fancy, put one game in London per week over 16 weeks (all except week 17), and every team plays one there per year, losing one home game every other year.

    This idea of having a permanent London team is ridiculous. They’d be at an incredible competitive disadvantage.

  12. Cue many xenophobic and ignorant comments about London and the UK from people acting like these guys fly economy cattle car class instead of on a private chartered jet with everyone flying first class

  13. So, does this mean there’s a section in the CBA somewhere that (the union thinks anyway) means that the union could block a team moving to *any* city, and they just haven’t used it yet?

    And tituspullo666, would that be counterbalanced by the UK’s higher tax rate?

  14. @umrguy42 that comes into play as a negative indeed. But on the other hand a trade like what happened with Trent Richardson would be impossible without the player agreeing to it. And just cutting someone would be out of the question.

  15. “cuda1234 says:
    Oct 2, 2013 7:26 AM
    A union obstructing business? Say it ain’t so!”

    As opposed to the big corporation pushing their workers around.

    Common sense should block the move to London, not the NFLPA. Everyone but greedy Roger gets it.

  16. The UK has strict laws about which professional athletes can be admitted to the country, based on criminal history, time playing the sport, etc. Granted, those laws only apply to soccer players right now, but if the NFL wanted to move a team to London full-time, it’s hard not to see UK lawmakers looking at all the criminal shenanigans of NFL players and imposing a similar rule.

  17. Ok so you want to sell your approval for cash, how much is it going to be this time. Standard bribe fee? Let’s consult the chart and it will tell us the appropriate amount for the situation. Just call Congress and have them fax over the master sheet, they know all the exact market prices on this kind of stuff.

  18. Seahawks, 49ers, Broncos and twice each for the Colts and Texans. Yeah, we’re not winning a game this year. 2-30 combined record this season and last.

    The absolute worst ever.

  19. Tom Bateman of Bring Back The Los Angeles Rams had a great idea. If the league wants to expand into the European market a team in London only gives them 8 home games there.

    With the league and NFLPA wanting to get rid of at least two pre-season games, after doing that, the league should add a 17th game to every teams schedule making it a “neutral game” where every team plays that extra game in London and make it a NFC vs AFC game in each case. Both teams playing in London would get the bye week the following Sunday.

    That gets the NFL the European-London market they crave so much and instead of just eight home games a London team would get, London gets 16 games a year.

    At the same time, you’ve gotten rid of those two unnecessary pre-season games and expanded the regular season by one game….not two.

  20. “As opposed to the big corporation pushing their workers around. ”

    Oh God, please. These NFL players are millionaires, I have no sympathy if they feel “pushed around” or not.

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