On June 5, it was announced that the 2021 CPL season will start on June 26 in Winnipeg, Manitoba at IG Field. IG Field is a football stadium that hosts the defending Grey Cup champions, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Canadian Premier League’s Valour FC.
The 2021 CPL season will start in Winnipeg, Manitoba
The capital city and most populous city in Manitoba will host the first 32 games of the CPL season according to the Canadian Press of Sportsnet. Each CPL team will play their first eight season games in Winnipeg.
Soccer is back in Canada 🇨🇦
— CanPL (@CPLsoccer) June 5, 2021
After that, CPL hopes to return to home markets for the remainder of the 2021 CPL season. CPL also wants to return with spectators in the stands. However, CPL commissioner David Clanachan stated that while it be nice and it is within sight, it is still far away:
“I want to be back in our home markets playing in front of fans and supporters as quick as possible. You can finally see that light at the end of the tunnel, I think. It’s still far away but I believe we can see that.”
The 29-single day format in Winnipeg has a slogan called: “The Kickoff Presented by Volkswagen.” It is similar to “The Island Games,” which took place last year and was the second season of the CPL. Just like the inaugural CPL season, this season will be a single-table format. They hope to have a full 28-game schedule for each team in 2021.
CPL could have played outside of Canada
There were a total of 11 applications including from five Canadian cities. The other offers came from the United States of America, Europe, and the Caribbean. However, Clanachan stated that he “wanted to stay here.”
GT20 in association with Cricket Canada and the Malaysian Cricket Association will be hosting the 2021 Season in Malaysia.
— GT20 Canada (@GT20Canada) April 7, 2021
Playing outside of Canada for a Canadian professional sports league is actually not that foreign. This year, Global T20 Canada, a Canadian professional men’s cricket league will play in Malaysia because of COVID-19. They normally play all their games in Brampton, Ontario at the CAA Centre. So good on CPL on making the decision to keep the league within Canada. It also makes an easier transition when they plan to travel to home markets sometime this season.
2021 CPL News Overview
This is obviously big news for the Canadian Premier League and Canadian soccer fans. CPL was able to get it done and play their third season, two of which happened during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is really a remarkable achievement when comparing other leagues within North America. The National Lacrosse League cancelled their entire 2020-21 season while the Canadian Football League cancelled their 2020 season. Both seasons were cancelled without playing a single season game. It just shows the professionalism and the way the CPL is set up for success.
“It’s awesome,” began Valour FC GM and head coach Rob Gale. “We have a date, a start, a venue and an opposing team – it just makes everything real now. It’s like when we learned about the bubble last year – now there’s no more rumours, no more discussion.
— CanPL (@CPLsoccer) June 5, 2021
Teams will be tested for COVID-19 before travelling. They will also be tested in the first seven days in Winnipeg and once every week thereafter in Winnipeg. Four CPL teams will play their first season game on June 26, while the other four teams will play on June 27. The first two games on June 26 will be FC Edmonton going up against Atlético Ottawa at 2:00 p.m. ET while Pacific FC takes on HFX Wanderers FC at 5:00 p.m. ET. Then, on June 27, two-time defending CPL champions, Forge FC will face Valour FC at 2:00 p.m. ET while Cavalry FC will face York United FC at 5:00 p.m. ET. All 2021 CPL season games will be shown on OneSoccer.