(Reuters) - The Canadian Premier League (CPL) said on Wednesday it will start its COVID-19-delayed season on Aug. 13 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (PEI), branding the event “The Island Games”.
The CPL, which like many leagues was forced to shut down in mid-March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, said it had been in discussion with several cities to host the competition.
It decided on the tiny island province, which has had just 36 confirmed cases of the virus and no deaths.
The eight-team league is in its second season and boasts clubs from coast-to-coast, but it does not have one in PEI which is part of the Canadian Maritimes.
In order to gather in PEI the CPL has had to agree to strict health and safety protocols that will see players and staff self-quarantine for 14 days before arriving in Charlottetown.
Players will be tested during the initial quarantine and tested again before boarding a charter to Charlottetown. Once on the ground in PEI they will be tested twice more during another five-day quarantine period.
“This is all about safety for everyone, that’s one of the reasons we were able to do this and why I consider this one of the safest places in Canada to be,” said CPL commissioner David Clanachan during a conference call.
“This is something not done on the back of an envelope, this was something that was done over a few months.
“There is the Maritime bubble and we are creating our own bubble around the facilities where we are housed.
“We can’t have anyone leaving our bubble and they can’t interact with other people on the island at all, that’s part of the protocol and we think that is the wise thing to do.”
All matches will be played at the University of Prince Edward Island Alumni Field in Charlottetown, the largest city in Canada’s smallest province, starting with a first stage round-robin where each team plays each other once.
The top four clubs will advance to the second round group phase that will culminate with the top two teams competing in a single match final.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis
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