XFL and CFL will not merge; XFL expected to return in 2023

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The XFL and CFL will no longer be pursuing a partnership in the short-term, according to the CFL, which said in a statement Monday both leagues agreed to move forward separately.

“Our talks with the XFL, exploring the potential for collaboration and innovation, have been positive and constructive," the statement read. "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."

In March, the leagues announced they agreed to "collaborate" and "innovate" in a vague description of the partnership.

The CFL will return to action Aug. 5 for the first time since 2019, as the COVID-19 pandemic canceled last season and prevented the Grey Cup – the nine-team league's championship – from being played for the first time since 2019.

"We are looking forward to this year and a bright future for our league," the CFL said in its statement.

The XFL made its return under former owner Vince McMahon in 2020. But five weeks into the season, the pandemic shut down the campaign. The league, after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, was sold to Dany Garcia and investors at RedBirdCapital Partners that includes Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson for $15 million in August 2020.

"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."

Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: XFL, CFL will not merge; XFL expected to return in 2023