CFL to launch season on Aug. 5; B.C. Lions to announce plan for fans

CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie. Photo courtesy CFL

Coinciding with B.C. announcing a shift to Stage-2 reopening on Tuesday, the Canadian Football League announced it will launch the 2021 season on Aug. 5.

The league’s board of directors unanimously approved the plan for a season. There were previous concerns that some clubs may object if they are not able to have fans attending games - citing the league’s heavy dependency on gate revenue for its economic survival.

Details of the season have not yet been released. Officials said the full 14-game regular season schedule - along with the plans of each team (including the B.C. Lions) for ticket sales and attendance at stadiums - will be released tomorrow.

Training camps are slated to open July 10.

Currently, B.C. would limit in-person attendance of indoor events to 50 persons or less under Stage 2 rules. However, Stage 3 - which will not arrive until July 1 at the earliest - allows for more interpretative leeway in terms of sporting event attendance. 

The rules say that, under Stage 3, there can be “increased capacity at both indoor and outdoor organized gatherings with a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place.” No number or or percentage limit on crowds were specified.

The CFL has not played since the 2019 Grey Cup on Nov. 24, 2019, more than a year ago. The league was forced to cancel the 2020 season in its entirety - one of the few professional leagues that were not able to create an alternative plan (i.e. a bubble) for the COVID-19-affected year.