Rod Pedersen: CFL intends to play in 2021, but June or July start is ‘off the table’

Photo courtesy: Rod Pedersen

The viability of the 2021 CFL season remains in question due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but a report should provide hope for fans of the league.

Rod Pedersen of The Rod Pedersen Show wrote on his website that, though the start of the season will be delayed, the CFL intends to play this year.

My league sources have indicated to me that the CFL intends to play in 2021 and that – worse-case scenario – they’re preparing the stadiums to be setup similar to the NFL’s and NHL’s in 2020 (tarps over the lower sections with national & local ads on them). A June or July kickoff is reportedly “off the table” and they’re looking at a late-August or Labour Day kickoff.

That source of the Edmonton Sun’s isn’t wrong in what the CFL SHOULD do but if they did mothball for 2021, it would be the end of the league as we know it. The current staffers would be gone, never to return. You’d see even more retirements (i.e. careers ending prematurely) than we are now. The current people in the CFL are holding on with a death grip and I don’t blame them.

This remains up to the owners and – seeing what other leagues have done – they MUST be on board to play in 2021.

Pedersen’s report came one day after Postmedia columnist Gerry Moddejonge cited an anonymous source who suggested the league could look to 2022 because a 2021 season may not be “plausible.”

The CFL inveiled its 2021 schedule back in November but has yet to indicate the likelihood of it going forward as planned. The preseason is supposed to begin on Sunday, May 23, while the regular season is slated to get underway on Thursday, June 10.

The league started meeting with its players’ association this past week to begin developing a return-to-play plan for 2021. An internal CFLPA memo obtained by 3DownNation stated, “Our goal remains clear: to play a safe, healthy, 18 game regular season of Canadian Football in 2021.”