It looks like Prince Edward Island will lead the way in Canada’s return to soccer, with the Canadian Premier League possibly looking to finally kick off its season in Charlottetown.
The Canadian Soccer Association announced Friday that the sport can resume in P.E.I. and B.C., providing clubs compete the final phase of its “Return to Soccer Guidelines” which includes completing a “self-assessment tool.”
A Canada Soccer spokesman said amateur teams could resume training in P.E.I. as soon as this weekend with clubs in B.C. perhaps following next week.
“We are confident that the local realities in Prince Edward Island and Canada Soccer’s return to soccer guidelines will ensure that participants return to a safe sport environment,” Peter Wolters, executive director of the P.E.I. Soccer Association, said in a statement.
The P.E.I. government confirmed last month it had been approached by HFX Wanderers FC about having the CPL resume its season in the province.
On Friday, the city of Charlottetown pronounced itself “a leading contender to serve as host city for this year’s modified Canadian Premier League season.”
“Charlottetown is open for business,” Mayor Philip Brown said in a statement. “I’m excited to be able to extend an invitation to the Canadian Premier League and its eight member teams to play their modified single-city season in the birthplace of Confederation — it doesn’t get any more Canadian than right here in Charlottetown.”
The CPL, which was slated to kick off its second season on April 1, has not commented on the P.E.I. possibility.
Canada Soccer says most of its 13 provincial and territorial member associations have submitted their return to soccer plans for approval.
“Starting with the suspension of sanctioned soccer in March, countless hours of thoughtful and measured discussion and planning have gotten us to a place where we are confident we can once again provide a safe sport environment in areas of the country where the provincial and local governments have permitted a return to physical activities,” Canada Soccer general secretary Peter Montopoli said in a statement.
Different regions may opt for different rules in resuming the sport. Ontario, for example, could choose to return to play depending on region.
Pro teams are governed by their league’s return to play protocols, as well as local health and government authorities.