On the heels of an announcement that our federal government would not provide an interest-free loan to the Canadian Football League in order to pave the way to an abbreviated 2020 season to be held in Winnipeg, the CFL today officially announced there will be no games this year and that they will now focus on 2021.
The cancellation of yet another league’s football season adds to the list this year, as one-by-one associations have cancelled play due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Locally, as previously reported on this website, we have seen the cancellation of spring youth football, the province-wide OFC league, and NCAFA (fall tackle football). Nationally, university football has pre-emptively been cancelled in three of four associations (Ontario, West, and Atlantic).
“The Canadian Football League is shifting its focus to 2021 and beyond after deciding not to play a shortened season this Fall.”CFL announcement, 17 August 2020
The CFL’s commissioner, Randy Ambrosie, was quoted in the league’s announcement, saying, “Our league governors decided today it is in the best long-term interests of the CFL to concentrate on the future. We are absolutely committed to 2021, to the future of our league, and the pursuit of our vision of a bigger, stronger, more global CFL.”
The CFL’s key point of revenue generation is ticket sales, so that means fans in the seats, something that isn’t in the cards for this year. The league had been exploring a plan to play all games in Winnipeg, without fans in attendance, and was looking for some help from the federal government, in the form of a loan to do so. Word came out over the weekend that the loan application had been rejected.
Eastern Ontario’s entry in the CFL, the Ottawa RedBlacks, announced on Twitter, “Our sights are now set on the 2021 Season. Nous regardons maintenant vers la saison 2021.”
On a positive note, there are plans locally for some football, though, as the Cornwall Wildcats have put together a fall flag football program for youth.