Sportnet’s Arash Madani: some in CFL circles believe 2021 season will start ‘around late July or August’

Photo courtesy: Arash Madani

One of Canada’s top sports reporters remains skeptical that the 2021 season will start on time.

“There are some people in league circles that believe it’s more probable than not that you’re looking at a summer training camp and then starting the season — somewhat of a shortened season, maybe — in and around late July or August,” Sportsnet’s Arash Madani told 620 CKRM.

“There is a belief that you will be able to have some kind of crowd in the summer and maybe be closer to a capacity-type situation by fall.”

The league unveiled its full 2021 schedule on November 20 as part of Grey Cup Unite Week. The first pre-season game is set for Sunday, May 23 in Winnipeg, while the regular season is slated to begin on Thursday, June 10.

“That’s a guess by people I’ve spoken with who are familiar with this whole situation. They’re reading tea leaves,” said Madani. “That’s one scenario that was floated to me based on where COVID is, where they forecast COVID to be going, where the vaccine situation is and based on last year when cases were down in the summer.”

Madani doesn’t believe that the league’s schedule announcement should be taken as a strong indication that a full 18-game season is likely for the CFL in 2021.

“That was Randy Ambrosie saying, ‘We need to just do something for Grey Cup week.’ And there’s a reason that was a Friday news dump and that’s because they didn’t even consult any health professionals on it. They just wanted to say, ‘Hey, we’re ready for business and we’re just going to go about this.'”

Canada recently received its first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine with a small number of doses being administered to high-priority recipients. Though an exact timeline remains unclear, health officials have indicated that the majority of Canadians could be vaccinated for COVID-19 anywhere between May and September 2021.