Hamilton Tiger-Cats chief operating officer Scott Mitchell didn’t mince words when asked about the CFL playing football in 2021.
Mitchell provided a definitive statement on the plans for a three-down season following a cancelled schedule in 2020.
“Oh yeah, we’re going to play football this year — there’s no doubt in my mind. We’re going to play, there’s no doubt in my mind. Everybody’s incented to play,” Mitchell told Ticats digital host Louie B.
“There’s a lot of reason for optimism. I don’t have any doubt we’re going to play football this year. It’s not a matter of if, it’s just a matter of when we’re going to be able to start training camp.”
Ontario sport minister Lisa MacLeod and the provincial government have received the league and players’ association’s return-to-play health and safety plan. The CFL and union began meetings during the second week of February with a focus on playing football this year.
“First and foremost you worry about people’s health and safety, and we’re going to get through this. We’re in this strange period right now where there’s lots of good news, but the virus is still there and some ways in southern Ontario it’s come back a little bit,” Mitchell said.
“When you look at the bigger picture, and see where we’re going to be in May and June, it looks like several provinces will be fully vaccinated by that period of time. Ontario looks like they’re going to have about three more million doses in the next couple weeks.”
The CFL unveiled its 2021 schedule in 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.
“I think the 2021 Grey Cup is just going to be a phenomenal party for Canadians. It’ll be safe, and we’ll do it the right way,” Mitchell said. “It’ll be very emotional for a lot of people to get back together for Grey Cup come November.”