The Canadian Football League is going ahead with its 2021 season.
The league’s board of governors has voted unanimously in favour of an amended collective bargaining agreement and starting the 2021 campaign on Aug. 5. The CFL did not play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CFL said it would release a 2021 schedule on Tuesday. The board approval means training camp will be scheduled to begin on July 10.
“Words cannot express how grateful we all are to the health-care and front-line workers who have done so much to keep Canada going,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement. “We at the CFL want to thank everyone who has chosen to get vaccinated, we encourage everyone to get a first shot, or a second, when it is their turn.
“The public health officials in every province keep telling us that as long as the vaccination rate keeps climbing, and the number of cases of COVID-19 is contained or goes down, the more life will get back to normal, including full capacities in our stadiums.”
The league unveiled plans in November for a full 18-game season that was to have started in June. But the date was later pushed back to early August and the number of games was reduced to 14.
“We are now in the best possible position to play football in 2021,” the CFL Players’ Association said in a statement. “We are pleased the CFL board of governors did the right thing by voting in favour of a good and fair agreement that makes it possible for games to be played, with strong player safety standards in place, as soon as Aug. 5.
“CFLPA members are looking forward to getting back to the game as well as the communities they proudly represent. We will continue to closely monitor decisions made by the various levels of government to understand how we can meet pandemic safety protocols and get players back to work.”
The Grey Cup game, which is scheduled to take place in Hamilton, was also pushed back from Nov. 21 to Dec. 12.
–with files from cbc.ca