The Canadian Premier League is looking to stage its 2020 season on Prince Edward Island in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has emerged.
The PEI government has revealed it has been approached by the CPL’s HFX Wanderers FC “to see if our province would be interested in hosting the Canadian Premier League 2020 season”.
“The CPL is currently searching for a safe location to play its entire 2020 season and the Halifax Wanderers thought our Island would be a good fit,” the province’s Department of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture said in a statement. “We are working through the stages of figuring out the details of how we could host the CPL on our Island.
“We would love to host the 2020 season, as it would be a huge impact for our Island’s economy. However, the health and safety of Islanders always comes first. There are many health guidelines and restrictions that need to be reviewed and approved by our chief medical health office. Once these are approved, we will put together a package to bid as a host for the CPL,” the statement added.
The CPL was due to start its second season in April but it is on an indefinite suspension because of the health crisis.
As a result, CPL players have had 25 per cent of their contracts deferred, while coaches, technical staff, and club and league employees have taken wage reductions. These measures were taken, according to CPL commissioner David Clanachan, “in order to keep as many people as possible employed”.
The CPL has also sought C$15m in “short-term financing” from the Canadian federal government.
Much of Canada has strict health and safety protocols amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, however Prince Edward Island has so far remained relatively unscathed by the pandemic and currently has no confirmed cases.
According to the proposal, CPL players would self-isolate for 14 days before arriving on the Island and a further 14 days once in the province. It is believed games will be played at The University of Prince Edward Island.
The 300 players, coaches and media would be on the Island for 60 days for a 36-game season. Games would be played without spectators.
The CPL is following a number of other major sports organizations in North America looking to resume live competition in neutral locations, including the National Women’s Soccer League, Major League Soccer, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League.
Meanwhile, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is planning to stage events on a private island.