Winnipeg to host first month of Canadian Premier League games in 2021 bubble

The game ball sits on a pedestal ahead of the inaugural soccer match of the Canadian Premier League between Forge FC of Hamilton and York 9 in Hamilton on April 27, 2019. The Canadian Premier League says it expects clubs to resume training soon, pending approval from local authorities. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Aaron Lynett

The Canadian Premier League intends on playing a full season in 2021 with games beginning in Winnipeg on June 26.

IG Field, home of the CPL’s Valour FC, will host 32 games before July 24 with each of the eight teams playing eight games each.

After completing the Winnipeg portion of the 2021 schedule, the league plans on sending clubs back to their home markets to finish the year.

“I want to be back in our home markets playing in front of fans and supporters as quick as possible,” said CPL commissioner David Clanachan, following the announcement on Saturday evening.

“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,” he added.

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All games hosted in Winnipeg through July 24 will have no fans.

The season kicks off at IG Field Saturday, June 26, with FC Edmonton taking on Atletico Ottawa and Pacific FC battling HFX Wanderers FC. The next day is CPL defending champion Forge FC versus the host team Valour FC, followed by Cavalry FC up against York United FC to wrap up opening weekend.

Clanachan says the league received 11 different offers from various locations aiming to host the first month of the season.

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He said the offers included bids from cities in the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean and five Canadian provinces.

“We wanted to stay here,” he said.

“We thought it was important to do that, for our fans and our supporters. But also just, pardon the pun, (for) a shot in the arm for Canada.”

The full Winnipeg schedule is set to be released on Wednesday, with the remainder of the games being rolled out at a later date.

Click to play video: 'Valour FC Head Coach tees up season opener, life in the P.E.I. bubble' Valour FC Head Coach tees up season opener, life in the P.E.I. bubble
Valour FC Head Coach tees up season opener, life in the P.E.I. bubble – Aug 17, 2020

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