Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam wants the Canadian Football League to follow the lead of the National Hockey League.
The federal government approved Toronto and Edmonton as hub cities for the NHL’s return to play plan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Following on ice training camp, known as phase three in the NHL, there were no positive coronavirus test results among the 4,256 tests administered to more than 800 Players during the period from July 18-25.
“The same principles would apply in the discussions concerning the CFL and ensuring that the health and safety of Canadians are at the forefront and that any protocols put in place are there to mitigate any kind of transmission to the general population,” Tam said.
All 24 teams entered bubbles in Edmonton and Toronto Sunday for the beginning of phase four and every single one of the 52 members — players and staff — will be tested on a daily basis. Any NHL personnel had to quaratine for seven days after crossing into the Canadian border.
“I do think that the kind of protocols that the NHL has in place, which includes the concept of quarantining the teams or cohorts, is something that is being addressed in that context,” Tam said. “I do believe that kind of concept is sort of in discussion.”
Winnipeg has tentatively been chosen as the hub city even though there is no definitive word from the Canadian government regarding potential financial aid or an agreement on a COVID-19 collective bargaining agreement with the CFL Players’ Association.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau knows the CFL is important to many Canadians, but that doesn’t mean it’s prudent to allow the league to play during the virus crisis unless strict medical guidelines are followed.