PHAC reviewing quarantine exemption for CFL, amended CBA agreed ‘in principle’ with CFLPA: report

The CFL just got two massive steps closer to returning to the field in 2021.

According to a report from Dan Ralph of the Canadian Press, the Public Health Agency of Canada is now in the process of reviewing the league’s request for a national interest exemption for modified quarantine in cooperation with provincial health authorities.

On May 27, 3DownNation reported that PHAC would not review the CFL’s proposal without official written support from the six provinces. It now appears that hurdle has been passed.

If approved, the request would ensure the CFL identical quarantine protocols as the NHL, waiving 14-day isolation requirements in favor of a seven day quarantine with daily testing.

Additionally, the CFL and CFLPA have reached an agreement in principle on an amended collective bargaining agreement for the 2021 season. The deal must be ratified by the CFL board of governors on Monday.

“The memorandum of understanding that was presented to the player representatives was endorsed by our bargaining committee and is a fair agreement that represents the direction and needs of the CFLPA membership,” CFLPA executive director Brian Ramsay said in a statement.

“We eagerly anticipate the CFL now making the right decision to get the season going while maintaining the highest player safety standards.”

The board of governors are scheduled vote on the proposed August 5 start to the 2021 season on June 14.

In late April, the CFL delayed its start date with a 14-game schedule targeted to kick-off on August 5, culminating in a currently planned December 12 Grey Cup. For the timeline to be met, the league requires ‘a significant number of fans’ to be allowed in stadiums by municipal, provincial, and federal governments.

The league and players’ union began meetings during the second week of February with a focus on playing football this year. The two sides have submitted return to play health and safety plans to various levels of government in Canada and are working to finalize the details in hopes of getting the final stamp from the nation’s capital.

After the Canadian government refused to provide a $30 million interest-free loan a year ago, the board of governors voted to cancel the 2020 season. The CFL reportedly lost between $60 and $80 million in 2020 and are set to lose millions more if any kind of season is played in 2021.