The 2020 CPL season is officially confirmed in Charlottetown

CPL

News — It has been a long wait, but it has finally been confirmed. The Canadian Premier League is officially back on Aug. 13 and will end in September. According to Shane Ross of CBC News, the games will be called “The Island Games” and will play all their games at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI).

Canadian Premier League Format

The format of the Canadian Premier League is similar to last year. The most notable difference is that the CPL has two group stages instead of one. This format is explained in John Molinaro’s (Director of Content for canpl.ca) article. There will be 28 games played in the opening group stage.

Each of the eight teams will play against each other once. The top four teams advance to the second group stage. In the second group stage, there will be six games, where each team plays each other once. Finally, there will be a one-match finale for the top two teams from the second group stage.

The winner of this one game will win the North Star Shield and will earn a berth in the 2021 Concacaf League. This is different than last year, where the final had a home and away series between Forge FC and Cavalry FC.

Charlottetown

“The Island Games” are in Charlottetown. CPL commissioner David Clanachan gave many reasons why the CPL chose Charlottetown as their hub city on OneSoccer.

“Became about the opportunity, the size of the market,” Clanachan said. “The fact that the health and safety protocols lined up very well. One of the safest places in Canada, not just all of Canada, but globally, truthfully.”

As mentioned previously, Charlottetown currently has no current cases, which is a perfect place to play CPL games. However, it’s also a departure from other leagues like Major League Soccer and the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL). Unlike those two leagues, CPL is playing in a market that currently does not have a Canadian Premier League team.

The CPL season in 2020 could mean the possibility of having a team in Charlottetown or somewhere else in Prince Edward Island in the future. However, for right now, the focus should be on the 2020 CPL season finally starting.

Reasons for Why the Wait Was So Long

According to Molinaro of canpl.com, the health and safety protocols were a big reason why the wait was so long. Clanachan also said they did not want the league to rush back.

“The key here was that we weren’t rushed, we didn’t have to rush back into it because we hadn’t started our season,” Clanachan explained. “That’s the key thing, a lot of the other leagues are trying to finish seasons that they’d already started. We hadn’t begun, so we were fortunate in the sense that we were able to take our time at it and go at it in a methodical approach, but doing it in the appropriate manner.”

Overview of the CPL in Charlottetown

CPL Back in 2020

It took a long time. This tournament was set up after months of preparation and hard work by the CPL. At some points, it felt like there would be no CPL season this year.

However, now the season is just a month away. The opener of the 2021 CPL season will be between the two finalists of last year. Defending champions Forge FC will face off against Cavalry FC on Aug. 13. All games will be broadcasted on the streaming service OneSoccer.

Duane Rollins, of SoccerToday, was the first one to announce the possibility of a CPL season. Yes, the games are taking place on Aug. 13 instead of Aug. 15, but Rollins was right on a lot of things last Tuesday.

It is unclear though when the Canadian Championship will take place. It’s possible that the three Canadian MLS teams could also play in Charlottetown for the Canadian Championship, but nobody knows right now.

Testing Players

Also, like the other leagues, there will testing done for all CPL teams according to Marty Thompson of canpl.com.

“All of our players and coaches started last weekend on this, so they have to self-quarantine and isolate here in their home markets first for 14 days, which we will do. So you can’t put economics in front of health, right? We had to go through this and make sure it was right,” Clanachan said.

Also, in Thompson’s article, it was revealed that more tests will be planned before players land on P.E.I. The first test of results resulted in all players testing negative. Then, he revealed that the area around Alumni Field at UPEI where the games take place will be in a bubble.

More specifically, it will be a “bubble within” the existing Maritime bubble. Lastly, in Ross’s CBC News article, it was revealed that players would self-isolate for five days in Charlottetown according to Clanachan. There will be one team per floor at the Delta Hotel.

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