The 2020 CFL Season: Where are we now?

The 2020 CFL Season: Where are we now?
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The 2020 CFL season should have taken its’ first steps over the weekend with the first pre-season game. As we know, that didn’t happen.

A frustrating time for those of us who like to bang the drum for the CFL. Usually at this time of year we have our annual article on selecting your CFL team. And are arguing for people to fill the football void with the fantastic CFL product.

A lot of NFL fans complain at this time year about the long gap from the draft to the season. It is usually a perfect chance to ask why not give the CFL a go? Obviously we cannot say that this year.

Here in the UK interest in the CFL is very much in the minority. So any chance for the CFL to be the centre of attention is an opportunity that has to be seized. It not being there can be damaging. A point recognised on a much wider scale in Canada by BC Lions president Rick LeLacheur who has argued that any form of 2020 season keeps the CFL relevant.

2020 CFL Season Plan

We have seen some changes as things have moved along, but there is a 2020 CFL season plan.

In a recent league update it was stated that it looks like “the earliest the CFL might return to play – for a shortened but meaningful season – is this September.” As with all other sports leagues the CFL is subject to decisions made at a government level about group gatherings etc. so the league has plans in place – but they are subject to change.

The key points of the current CFL 2020 season plans are as follows:

As expected, the league will not play its’ full 18 week schedule. Current models have a 2020 CFL season starting in September followed by an 8-10 week season.

This is huge for the CFL. We know that their business plan is largely gate driven. We also know just how much of a financial hole they say they are in.

The banner event of each CFL season, the Grey Cup has also been affected.

Saskatchewan had successfully bid for the 108th Grey Cup. That will now not take place. Instead the Saskatchewan Roughriders have been awarded the 2022 Grey Cup.

Two models

There are two strands for a 2020 CFL season currently in play. The hub cities model & the win and host model.

The hub cities model has a couple of centres for the action to take place. Multiple teams would gather in one city. Effectively, isolating players, coaches, football ops people, and so on in one place. Theoretically this makes it much easier to keep everyone safe. 

The win and host model sees the 2020 Grey Cup Game site determined by a “win and host’ model. The team that qualifies for the Grey Cup and has the best regular season record to its’ opponent will host the Grey Cup Game. Which means Saskatchewan could still host the game (as could any of the other 8 teams).

Nobody knows what will happen

The CFL has plans in place. And they are considering all the alternatives. What about fans? What about training? Or even what about getting US players over the border?

There are a lot of opinions on those options out there. But the truth is nobody knows how this will play out. Around the world people are making unprecedented decisions and that is no different for sport.

The option for no 2020 CFL season is still on the table too. An, at best, abbreviated season will need significant agreement in place between the league and the CFLPA. Throughout all of this, safety has to be paramount.

The one thing we do know is that August is the cut off date. If the league cannot get things in place by some time in August, then we can wave the 2020 CFL season goodbye.

As ever, we will just have to wait and see how it all plays out. Now where’s did I put that link to some classic games to pass the time with?

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