The Canadian Premier League has announced it will stage a reduced 2020 season as a made-for-TV event at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
The officially-named “Island Games” will start on August 13 and finish in September, with all games behind closed doors.
The CPL selected Charlottetown as the site for the event over rival bids from the City of Langford, British Columbia, and Moncton, New Brunswick.
All eight CPL teams, including expansion team Atlético Ottawa, will initially play a round-robin tournament of 28 regular-season games, with each team playing each other once. The top four teams will move to the second round group phase, with the top two then progressing to the single-match championship game.
The winner will earn a place in the 2021 Concacaf League, a qualifying tournament for the Concacaf Champions League.
“We are excited about The Island Games…and the level of support from the Government of PEI, and City of Charlottetown who have been at the forefront of all our planning with our priority being that every participant and PEI citizens will be safe,” said CPL commissioner David Clanachan. “We are appreciative of all their hard work and their enduring support in making our season a reality.”
Around 300 players, staff, officials and broadcast personnel will participate in the quarantined event in the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic. The league is taking over the Delta Hotels Prince Edward, while games will be played at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) Alumni Field.
“As a highly ranked Canadian sport hosting destination, Charlottetown is always at the top of our game,” said Philip Brown, Charlottetown Mayor. “Hosting the CPL is sport tourism at its core and will drive much prosperity to our capital city.”
All 35 games will be aired live on OneSoccer, MediaPro’s Canada’s subscription streaming service. Games will be produced in High Definition, with a minimum of nine cameras and a strong team of experienced professionals and talent at each game.
As a result of the coronavirus crisis, CPL players have had 25 per cent of their contracts deferred, while coaches, technical staff, and club and league employees have taken wage reductions. The CPL has also sought C$15m in “short-term financing” from the Canadian federal government.