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What you need to know about COVID-19: August 6, 2020
Soccer fans on Prince Edward Island should know soon if the Canadian Premier League will be coming to Canada’s smallest province.
David Clanachan, commissioner and chairman of the board for the eight-team professional league, told The Guardian that Charlottetown, Langford, B.C., and Moncton, N.B., are the three front-runners to host the 2020 season.
Clanachan hopes to have an announcement within two weeks and emphasized he and the league fully understand and respect the process in attempting to find a safe home during the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“You want people to make the right decisions and quality decisions," said Clanachan. "If you try to push people too fast you sometimes get a quick no.
“I would rather give people the time to be thoughtful about it, understand it better, ask all the questions they need to and then be 100 per cent sure that is what they want to do.”
Clanachan said government support will be vital wherever the league ends up playing.
“I can’t say enough good things about what’s going on in P.E.I.,” said Clanachan. “Let me be very specific, the City of Charlottetown, the Island itself, the government folks, the people are excited.
“In my opinion, they want to find a way to yes. The issue is we have to give them all the right reasons.”
News of the league’s interest in P.E.I. broke in late May during the question period in the provincial legislature. Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown quickly issued an invitation to the league on behalf of P.E.I.’s capital city.
“We have had some great conversations with the provinces we have been talking to, obviously one of which is P.E.I., great conversations with the medical authorities around all of our health and safety protocols, which I’m happy to say have gone over very well.”
“I can’t say enough good things about what’s going on in P.E.I. Let me be very specific, the City of Charlottetown, the Island itself, the government folks, the people are excited. In my opinion, they want to find a way to yes. The issue is we have to give them all the right reasons.”
Clanachan said there will be no fans in the stands when play starts, but he didn’t rule out the possibility of fans attending games as the season progresses.
So, from a business perspective, how do you make it work with no fans in the stands?
“You are not doing it to make money, that’s the bottom line,” answered Clanachan.
“You are doing it to market the league and really leave an impression.”
Clanachan said it’s important for the CPL, which is entering just its second season, to continue building momentum.
“Our owners recognize we spent a lot of money investing in this league and they know that investment is out there,” said Clanachan. “They are patient, but they are saying, ‘Look, we still do need to kick a ball so people do not forget about us.”
Here are some facts about a potential 2020 Canadian Premier League season:
- The Canadian Premier League is hoping play will run from the middle of July to the middle of September.
- The league is examining a number of formats. One that is leading the way now, noted league commissioner and chairman of the board David Clanachan, is a World Cup-style tournament.
- All eight teams would play a round-robin format and then the field would be whittled down to so many teams and move forward again with another round robin and eventually end up with a champion.
- That format would result in between 35 and 40 games, which will be spread out and played every day of the week.
- All games are expected to be played at the UPEI turf field while Clanachan noted two other pitches would be required for practices.
- The league’s eight teams are Atlético Ottawa (Ottawa), Cavalry FC (Foothills County, Alta.), FC Edmonton (Edmonton), Forge FC (Hamilton), Halifax Wanderers FC (Halifax), Pacific FC (Langford, B.C.), Valour FC (Winnipeg) and York9 FC (Toronto).
The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce and the Business Continuity Group, a new group of 20 Island business owners and senior managers that in 2019 employed over 4,100 Islanders, have both publicly came out in support of the CPL playing in Charlottetown.
“This would be a major economic boost to our local business community, who have been impacted tremendously by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gerard Adams, interim CEO of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce.
“We eagerly await further details of how the Island can safely host the league this summer.”
Kevin Murphy, the spokesman for the Business Continuity Group, said this is big news for the economy.
“We’re confident that the very strict public health guidelines and directives will be adhered to by this professional organization and that this will be a win-win situation for all of P.E.I., Islanders, soccer fans across the country and the Canadian Premier League.”