VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Like all major events learning to adapt during the pandemic, the Candian Football League is providing a possible glimpse at a future on the fields, but with some uncertainty.
CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie announced Wednesday, the earliest the season could start again is in September, and the Grey Cup won’t be the same this year.
The final decision will still come down to the rule of health authorities, the league admits, but it can say, for now, there won’t be any gameplay this summer.
“We have learned three things about running a league in a pandemic. Certainty is hard to come by. Scenarios are plentiful. And public safety is paramount,” reads a CFL statement. “So, while we keep our focus on safety, we want to keep our fans informed as the number of possible scenarios narrows and decisions are made.”
However, Ambrosie also says cancelling the season altogether this year is still a possibility.
“Again, it’s too soon to make a sure call at this point,” he says.
No guaranteed Grey Cup host
While Ambrosie says the pandemic is still top of mind, the timeline he shared today is a positive step, according to Sportsnet 650’s Chris Wahl.
“It gives them some room to make a decision, and there’s an acknowledgement there, as well that the Grey Cup is just too big an event to put on in the times we’re living with,” Wahl explains.
The Grey Cup won’t be taking a traditional approach this year, and Regina is also no longer the guaranteed host.
“If there is a Grey Cup, the team with the best record who is in that game would get to host it. So, theoretically, there’s a chance that the Grey Cup could be in Vancouver,” Wahl says.
TLDR: season will start in September at the earliest.
If there’s a Grey Cup, will be a “win and host” format (finalist with the better record will have home-field advantage). https://t.co/tmIDXVo1iU
— Chris Wahl (@wahlsy) May 20, 2020
The league says the Grey Cup could be moved to December, but as Wahl notes, there are still factors to consider for the league to move forward, such as, “the border closure, depending on how long that goes on, because a lot of the players are American, and would have to come up over the border. Would they be given special dispensation?”
“If it’s just a regular home game and fans aren’t allowed in the building, I don’t think it would be nearly as big a problem or an issue to put together in a short time frame,” Wahl says.
The cancellation of a season would be unprecedented, he adds.
“I don’t envy the job of the commissioner to have to try to put plans into place when really, we’re not sure what’s going to happen in our society from one week to the next,” Wahl says.
The league is also reaching out to the Canadian government for assistance.