CFL officially postpones Edmonton-Toronto Week 4 game due to ‘a number of Elks’ positive COVID-19 tests

Photo courtesy: Edmonton Football Team

Thursday’s game between Edmonton and Toronto has been postponed after a breakout of positive COVID-19 tests within the Elks locker room.

The CFL head office released a statement late Sunday night:

“The Canadian Football League is postponing this Thursday’s game in Toronto between the Toronto Argonauts and Edmonton Elks after receiving word earlier today that a number of Elks players have tested positive for COVID-19. This is in keeping with the standard of care for COVID-19 and professional sport. It also reflects our desire to put the health and safety of our players, coaches and staff – as well as public health – above all other considerations.

The Elks will not practice or travel until our Chief Medical Officers and public health officials have assured us it is safe for them to do so. All of the Elks’ Tier One personnel, including players, coaches and support staff will now be subjected to an enhanced testing protocol which includes isolation.

The Elks’ most recent opponent, the BC Lions, will participate in an enhanced protocol and will be monitored closely this week. Upon review with our Chief Medical Officers, we do not believe the Lions were exposed to a high risk of infection. The league is now working to reschedule the game between the Elks and the Argonauts.

We know this is disappointing news for CFL fans, but we are confident they will overwhelmingly support our decision to put safety first.”

Any individual that tests positive is prevented from joining or is removed from team activities, and is isolated or quarantined, in accordance with the CFL’s return to play health and safety protocol, Public Health Agency of Canada protocol and local public health protocol.

The CFL has introduced a policy that will apply to any game cancellations caused by COVID-19 issues. According to the policy, if a game cannot be played as scheduled because of coronavirus issues, and it cannot be rescheduled:

  • And one club is suffering from the COVID-19 issues, that club will forfeit the game and be assigned a loss while its’ opponent will be credited with a win by a score of 1-0.
  • And both clubs are suffering from the COVID-19 issues, then both clubs will forfeit the game and be assigned a loss.

In both of these circumstances, if a team can prove that 85 per cent of its’ players under contract have been vaccinated, at least once and preferably fully, its players will receive their salary for the cancelled game. If the team falls below that 85 per cent threshold, the entire team will not receive its salary.

The league’s cancellation policy further states a game will be cancelled if any of the following conditions are met:

  • Its’ playing is precluded by a decision by a government health authority.
  • A team does not have 36 players to dress for the game;
  • A team does not have an individual available to coach the offence and another individual to coach the defence;
  • A team does not have a certified athletic therapist and sports medicine physician available for the game.

In addition, commissioner Randy Ambrosie can cancel a game at his discretion following consultation with the CFL’s chief medical officers and the CFL Players’ Association.