Canadian Premier League Announces ‘The Island Games’ As 2020 Season
The top division of domestic Canadian football is back: today, the Canadian Premier League has made a return-to-play announcement revealing its upcoming 2020 season. The shortened edition of the tournament will be based in Charlottetown, PEI, and will take place from August to September under the moniker ‘The Island Games’.
The competition will be broadcast exclusively on OneSoccer, with the first match taking place between Forge FC and Cavalry on August 13. The season will conclude in September, with the tournament’s full schedule announcement to come in the next few days. Each team’s away kits for The Island Games will be revealed tomorrow, too.
We are excited about The Island Games / Canadian Premier League 2020 season and the level of support from the Government of PEI, and City of Charlottetown who have been at the forefront of all our planning with our priority being that every participant and PEI citizens will be safe. We are appreciative of all their hard work and their enduring support in making our season a reality.David Clanachan
All matches will take place at the University of Prince Edward Island Alumni Field in Charlottetown, PEI, which features a FIFA quality turf surface and stadium night lights for evening matches. Teams will be sequestered in the Delta Hotels by Marriot – located in the waterfront of Charlottetown – and will be isolated from the outside world for the duration of the tournament.
The province of Prince Edward Island requires visitors to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival, with the estimated 300 members of the travelling league having begun this process in their respective provinces. The CPL members in attendance will also for a further five days after landing and being tested for COVID-19. The league had had zero positive cases in its first round of testing.
Atletico Ottawa will join the seven inaugural clubs for the competition, with all eight clubs (save Halifax) arriving by chartered flights. With clubs arriving on August 7 and August 8, CPL sides don’t have long left until they’ll need to be tournament ready – though phase three training hasn’t yet become the norm.
Clanachan commended fans on their patience while the league organized the 2020 season, though he admitted that he likely tested the patience of many while all of the building blocks were put into place.
The 2020 Canadian Premier League season will fully begin on August 13, with each club playing eachother exactly once. After each side has played seven games, the top four teams will enter the playoffs while the bottom four are finished for the campaign and are expected to await the Canadian Championship matches set to take place in PEI after the season comes to a close – though the domestic cup competition doesn’t have a public plan as of yet.
Having the Canadian Premier League season directly lead into the first round of Canadian Championship action is expected to be a convenient step for all eight clubs, as it means they can simply remain in the same bubble location for the first round of Voyageurs Cup action. At the moment, it’s not clear if the following rounds featuring the three Canadian MLS sides would take place in PEI, either.
As things stand, here’s how the format of the 2020 Canadian Premier League takes shape:
The top four teams from the regular season who make the playoffs will then play eachother one more time, with the top two proceeding to first-ever one-legged CPL Final. Whoever takes that fixture will hoist the North Star Shield, which was first won by Forge FC last year after Cavalry FC won both the spring and fall split-season format that the league transitioned away from in its original plan’s for the 2020 campaign.
The winner of the North Star Shield will, of course, also be granted a berth in the 2021 CONCACAF League. For each league game, the current FIFA mandate of five allowed substitutions will be in place – something which Eddies gaffer Jeff Paulus hopes will become a permanent part of the game.
While the matches will be playing out in a closed-door environment, organizers are currently working on finding a way to create a fan zone for minor soccer players from across PEI to attend in accordance with public health measures.
Langford and Moncton had been rumoured as potential locations for the last few months, with the Mayor of Charlottetown then making a high public bid inviting the league to host its season in the province. Evidently, the mayor’s statement had a big impact on how things have now played out.
Charlottetown is open for business. I’m excited to be able to extend an invitation to the CPL and its eight members to play their modified single-city season in the birthplace of Confederation – it doesn’t get any more Canadian than right here in Charlottetown.Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown
With clubs due to travel to the tournament in just one-and-a-half weeks, it’s no small wonder that fans are now hearing about work permits for some players finally being sorted: Jamaican international Alex Marshall reportedly landed in Canada last week, while York9 FC was able to have Real Madrid Academy product Alvaro Rivero within the country before they even announced his signing.
The league will also have an announcement for season ticket holders set to come in the near future, with the league promising unique opportunities for the 2020 season which include a new national league support’s group called The Collective, which has inadvertently confirmed that away kits are indeed featuring in the 2020 season.
Aside from the last few days, the league had been near-radio silent in the buildup to today’s announcement. This prompted some public discourse from CPL athletes, but with the wheels now set in motion all eyes will be on Charlottetown as the league prepares to undergo its second-ever season.