CFL continues to discuss potential contingency plans amid COVID-19 pandemic

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie says the CFL continues to discuss potential contingency plans to its 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

No decisions have been made yet but Ambrosie said league officials are aware the clock is ticking.

“We haven’t decided yet on a go, no-go date . . . (but) we know it’s out there,” Ambrosie said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “What we’re trying to do is educate ourselves and be in a position to make really smart, informed decisions when we have the information that’s needed.

“We’ve got a little bit of time and that time can be an ally in helping inform us.”

On Tuesday, the league postponed its global draft — which was slated for April 16 — and said it will now coincide with the opening of training camps. The CFL draft remains scheduled for April 30.

Earlier, the CFL cancelled regional combines in Montreal and Edmonton as well as its national combine in Toronto. Ambrosie said rescheduling the global draft was a no-brainer.

“If we’re going to take this initiative to the next level . . . we’ve got to give coaches and GMs an opportunity to evaluate these players,” Ambrosie said. “We’re convinced . . . this group of players is special and there’s many of them who can make contributions to CFL teams.”

Even if the CFL draft goes ahead as scheduled, it’s difficult to see how the league can’t push back the start of training camps, and by default, the ’20 regular season. On Tuesday, the Tokyo Summer Games, which were scheduled to begin July 24, were postponed until 2021 due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

CFL rookie camps are scheduled to open May 13 with training camps slated to begin four days later. The first exhibition game is set for May 24 with the regular season kicking off June 11.

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However, at the heart of any contingency plan would be the integrity of the regular season and how many games would constitute a valid campaign.

“We had that discussion this week,” Ambrosie said. “If you started with that idea, what do you need to have in order to be able to call it a legitimate regular season?

“We’re trying to not write these things down in indelible ink because what we’re trying to do is to keep talking about them with the hope by the time we finish the debate, we’ll have much more clarity and be able to make informed decisions.”

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