‘The Kickoff’ is coming: Winnipeg chosen as hub city for Canadian Premier League

WINNIPEG — A month of professional soccer is coming to Winnipeg as the city has been chosen to host the start of the Canadian Premier League (CPL) season.

Announced on Saturday, “The Kickoff” will see league teams play eight games each at IG Field starting June 26, for a total of 32 games, ending July 24.

The league said it is committed to teams playing a full 28-game season, with hopes teams can return to their home fields later in the season.

Winnipeg’s own Valour FC will hit the pitch on June 27 for its season debut against Hamilton’s Forge FC.

The games will be for broadcast only, with no fans in the stands. The league said all health and safety protocols put in place have been approved by Manitoba public health officials.

“Guidelines are in place for team testing before travel, during the first seven days and weekly thereafter, and players will be cohorted with their teams and only interact with other teams during matches,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer in a statement. “Additionally, essential personnel will be limited and proactive screening, monitoring and tracking of participants will be documented to ensure the event is successful and safe.”

The tournament is being supported by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development Winnipeg through a provincial long-term recovery fund.

Dayna Spiring, president and CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg, said Winnipeg being selected as a hub city will give the city’s tourism sector a much-needed boost, which has been hard hit by the pandemic.

“The Kickoff will translate into more than 5,500 booked hotel room nights and $4.9 million in economic spinoff. In addition, international media coverage will elevate Winnipeg on the global stage and position us as a premier city to host similar events in the future,” said Spiring.

New league kits will be revealed on June 7, with a complete Kickoff schedule to be released June 9.

View original article here Source