The Edmonton Football Team has been watching its hockey counterparts in the Alberta capital closely.
The Oilers have submitted a comprehensive proposal aimed at gaining approval for a limited number of fans to attend games at Rogers Place. According to TSN reporter Tom Gazzola, it’s a 50-page document and the hope is to have fans in the building as early as April.
“This is great news and would show the progress we are all hoping for,” EE Football Team president and chief operating officer Chris Presson said in a statement obtained by 3DownNation.
“We know that fans in Edmonton want to see the safe return of live sporting events and it’s promising that the Oilers Entertainment Group is leading the way by consulting with experts and health care professionals on how to do so.”
The precedent for fans could be set by the Oilers which would theoretically lead to the CFL following the health and safety protocols at its stadiums while putting bums in seats. Edmonton has the largest outdoor stadium in the three-down league which can host over 60,000 fans. The green and gold could have the highest limited capacity number in the league.
“We have also had preliminary conversations with Alberta Health Services and will work with them on how outdoor football games could host fans safely this summer,” Presson stated.
“We have received multiple proposals from various stakeholders, including the OEG, about allowing fans to attend. We recognize the value that sports bring, but are proceeding cautiously to protect the public health and prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Alberta Health Services said in a statement.
“No decision has been made at this time. A return to fans at sporting and other events will be permitted when these activities can be done safely.”
Meanwhile, the CFL and players’ association began meetings during the second week of February with a focus on putting football on the field this year. In late February, the league office and union submitted a joint return to play health and safety plan to various levels of Canadian government.
The CFL unveiled its 2021 schedule last November with the pre-season scheduled to begin on Sunday, May 23, while the regular season is slated to get underway on Thursday, June 10, and the Grey Cup in Hamilton on Sunday, November 21 in Hamilton.