Canada

Rick Zamperin: Coronavirus pandemic forces CFL to rip up its 2020 schedule

The decision by the Canadian Football League to postpone the start of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic was inevitable.

From the NHL and NBA to Major League Baseball, the MLS and others, sports leagues have been at the forefront of an entertainment industry that has been economically bludgeoned by the COVID-19 crisis.

CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie broke the news Wednesday when he announced the season won’t begin until the beginning of July.

READ MORE: COVID-19 pandemic forces CFL to postpone start of season

The 2020 campaign was scheduled to start June 11, and while Ambrosie says the league will try to play a full 18-game season, he admits that it won’t be easy.

First things first, if the CFL wants to keep the Grey Cup on Nov. 22 in Regina, the schedule will need an extreme makeover.

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If we put everything on the table, keeping an 18-game season would mean a lot fewer days off for players and the Players Association — rightfully so — won’t like it.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats, for example, were slated to open their season on June 13 against Winnipeg Blue Bombers in a 2019 Grey Cup rematch, so will the league just terminate that game and Hamilton’s next two games after that and begin the year after Canada Day?

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At the very least, I’m hoping the league is working on a number of different scheduling scenarios in the event the pandemic ends this summer.

But the CFL should take note, starting the year at any point after Labour Day won’t be a good idea unless they can cram in at least half-season’s worth of games and end up with a credible champion.

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