Toronto Argonauts: Hopes of 2020 season at the three-minute warning

Freddie Bishop III #56 of the Toronto Argonauts sacks William Arndt #8 of the Ottawa Redblacks. (Photo by John E. Sokolowski/Getty Images)
Freddie Bishop III #56 of the Toronto Argonauts sacks William Arndt #8 of the Ottawa Redblacks. (Photo by John E. Sokolowski/Getty Images) /

There is reportedly optimism the Toronto Argonauts and the rest of the league will play a season in 2020, but time is running out for the CFL.

It’s been several weeks since we wrote about the Toronto Argonauts’ fading hopes of playing football in 2020. Since then, yet another of the CFL’ deadlines has passed for confirming if there will be a season this year.

Soon, it won’t matter if the CFL surpasses and then sets another deadline; time will just run out for a 2020 season. Interestingly though, despite now being at the metaphorical three-minute morning, there appears to be genuine optimism of the season being saved.

As reported by the Toronto Sun‘s Dan Barnes, the Public Health Agency of Canada effectively approved the CFL’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols on Friday. Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public health officer, advised the proposal will be forwarded to the office of Health Minister Patty Hajdu.

It will then be up to Hajdu to sign off on if the CFL can proceed in Winnipeg, which will serve as the hub city the nine teams. This would provisionally allow the CFL to hold training camp, 27 regular season games, six playoff contests and the Grey Cup, between September and November.

There was more good news, in respect of the league’s negotiations with the CFL Players’ Association. As per TSN, even though some fine tuning remains, the two sides appear to be on the same page regarding guaranteed contracts for players.

Due to the positive negotiations and Njoo’s comments, there is now hope the CFL can complete the miracle despite time fast running out. However, there is another significant hurdle still to be cleared, which the league has no control over.

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If appropriate funding is not received, the 2020 season will quite simply not be possible. In this respect, the CFL has asked for a $30 million interest-free loan, in order to proceed with their shortened six-game campaign.

The issue is that the league is still waiting to hear back from the federal government. The temptation is to suggest the government is not approaching the loan request with any urgency.

In fairness however, the government has to justify approving a loan of $30 million for a professional sports league, even one which is ingrained within Canadian history. It’s entirely possible they were waiting for updates relating to the CFL’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, in order to help in making a decision.

Regardless, this decision needs to be made soon. No matter how much optimism there is, the cutoff point for realistically holding a 2020 CFL season is fast approaching.

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Where do you stand on the chances of a 2020 CFL season? Are you hopeful the Toronto Argonauts will play, or concerned there will be no games this year? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.