2020 CFL training camps postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19

After discussions with the CFL Players’ Association, the CFL has decided to postpone training camps indefinitely.

Main CFL training camps were scheduled to open May 17.

Statement from the commissioner:

As of today, the opening of CFL training camps will be postponed. The ongoing global pandemic and the resulting directives issued by various governments make it unsafe to proceed with plans to gather our athletes and coaches together as scheduled. (Until today, full CFL training camps had been scheduled to open on May 17, and rookie camps had been scheduled to open as early as May 11.)

As for our future plans, we are in the hands of our public health officials, the advice they are providing governments, and the directives those governments are issuing to us all, and we acknowledge their timetable will be dictated by the virus itself. We will make further decisions when we can and share them with our fans and the public as soon as possible.

The CFL and its member clubs would like to take this opportunity to thank our fans, partners, players, prospects, coaches and staff, for their dedication and patience as we face this challenge. We are facing it together, even if we have to be physically apart. An additional thank you to everyone doing their part to fight the virus. Please wash your hands, stay home and practice social distancing. The sooner we stop the spread, the sooner we can get back to normal – and back to football.

Finally, but most importantly, we want to express our gratitude to the people on the front lines of healthcare and the supply chain. Your hard and courageous work – to inform us, feed us and care for us, our communities and our loved ones – makes you our champions.

We at the CFL are pragmatic optimists. Our pragmatism dictates that, unfortunately, training camps cannot go forward as scheduled. But our optimism remains strong. We continue to look forward to a CFL season and the Grey Cup.

Randy Ambrosie cancelled the CFL combines during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and is planning for contingencies. The CFL regular season kick-off is currently set for June 11 and the Grey Cup on the docket for November 22 in Regina. According to Ambrosie, the CFL Draft will go ahead as planned on April 30.

CFL Players’ Association president Solomon Elimimian has told the membership to prepare for the worst amid the coronavirus crisis. There have been discussions with the league about what a modified start to the season could look like.

The CFLPA will continue to work with the CFL and closely monitor decisions by health officials and all levels of government in order to finalize details and provide more specific information to players.

Statement from CFLPA executive director Brian Ramsay:

The health, safety and well-being of all players is our priority during these extraordinarily uncertain times. And while it wasn’t an easy decision to postpone training camps, it’s in the best interest of our players, their families, fans and all those close to the game.
Since mid-March, the CFLPA has been actively working on response planning for the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of that planning has been working closely with the CFL to forecast possible alternate scenarios for the start of the 2020 CFL season. The CFLPA will continue to be involved in decisions related to today’s announcement as well as all other scenarios related to the upcoming season.
Our Association mobilized quickly to develop a COVID-19 response plan on behalf of players. We are in daily contact with the CFL to anticipate all possible scenarios, we’ve developed an online resource for players to reference and we’re working hard to keep lines of communication open for the team player representatives so that they have answers as soon as they are available.

Direction on the 2020 CFL season is supposed to follow the training camp decision after discussions by all parties.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.