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CFL plans to restart play in 2021 with Grey Cup rematch

The CFL is planning to kick off a return to the field in 2021 with a rematch of its last Grey Cup contest.

The league released a 2021 schedule on Friday. It didn’t play in 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 season, if it goes ahead, is scheduled to begin June 10 with Hamilton visiting Winnipeg. The Blue Bombers defeated the Tiger-Cats 33-12 in the 2019 Grey Cup.

“We’re looking forward to hosting our comeback season in our stadiums, in front of our fans,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement. “With this schedule, we’re signalling that we’re looking forward with optimism to playing in 2021.”

Whether the CFL can return as planned depends on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada at the time of the proposed start date. Potential hurdles include the status of the Canada/U.S. border, which could affect American players coming north to play football if it remains closed by then.

It’s also unclear whether fans would be allowed to return to stadium and, if so, how many.

The 2021 schedule features more divisional games to reduce travel for teams, but also includes traditional Labour Day weekend matchups.

The Montreal Alouettes are scheduled to visit the Ottawa Redblacks on Sept. 3, with the Saskatchewan Roughriders set to play host to Winnipeg on Sept. 5.

The next day, Hamilton is scheduled to play host to the Toronto Argonauts while the Edmonton Football Club visits the Calgary Stampeders.

Ottawa is scheduled to visit Montreal on Oct. 11 in a Thanksgiving Day matchup.

The CFL playoffs are scheduled to begin Nov. 7 and culminate Nov. 21 with the Grey Cup in Hamilton.