If the Canadian Football League has a 2020 season, games won’t begin until at least September with a shortened schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement this afternoon, the CFL ruled out playing games this summer and said a final decision on whether there will be a season will depend on what governments tell the league is safe for players and fans.
The CFL said there are several reasons why games won’t be played in the summer, including the continuing restrictions on assemblies, travel and border crossings. Several provinces and municipalities have already decided to prohibit until September 1, all sporting events featuring large gatherings.
The league has no idea yet whether games will go ahead with or without fans, or with social distancing rules in place, adding all possibilities were being examined with both public safety and financial viability in mind.
The CFL did not rule out a cancelled season but said it was too soon to make a sure call at this point.
If there is a season, the league will not be able to host a traditional Grey Cup and Grey Cup Festival due to the pandemic. In agreement with the Roughriders, Saskatchewan will host the 2022 Grey Cup. And if there is a return to play, the host of the 2020 Grey Cup Game will be determined by a “win and host” model team. The team that qualifies for the Grey Cup and has a superior regular season record to its opponent will host the Grey Cup Game. This gives all nine CFL teams a shot at hosting the Grey Cup this year. The league is also considering moving the Grey Cup into December, as every option is explored to allow teams to play as many games as possible in 2020.