Atlético Ottawa, York9 FC receive approval to return to training and start workouts

Atlético Ottawa and York9 FC announced on Tuesday that they have received approval from local and provincial health authorities, as well as the Canadian Premier League, to return to in-person training behind closed doors.

Both sides will be back on the pitch on Wednesday when they will begin to hold voluntary workouts for their players. Atlético Ottawa will train at George Nelms Sport Park and York9 will be at the Ontario Soccer Centre.

Ottawa and York9 are the third and fourth CPL teams to get the green light to return to training, following similar announcements by HFX Wanderers FC and Pacific FC over the past few days. The Wanderers returned to training on Monday at the Soccer Nova Scotia Centre, while Pacific resumed workouts at its Island Training Centre.

In accordance with the CPL’s training protocols, both Atlético Ottawa and York9 will be taking a multi-phase approach to returning, beginning with individual or small-group workouts, which will allow for a secure, sanitary environment can be maintained and physical distancing measures can be followed.

“We are excited to get started working with our players in a training environment and we thank all healthy and safety officials and governing bodies involved in providing us with the guidelines to safely get our players back on the pitch,” Atlético Ottawa CEO Fernando López said.

York9 managing consultant Angus McNab added: “This is a great first step for us in returning to the field and entertaining our loyal fans. We thank all involved in leadership positions in government, at a provincial and municipal level, from Canada Soccer, and at the Canadian Premier League that have worked so hard to make this step towards our return to play a reality.”

As with other clubs returning to training, York9 and Atlético Ottawa both indicated that the priority for their return will be the health and safety of all players and staff, as well as their families and the local community.

The league said it is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic situation across the country, and it will be following the advice and guidelines of all relevant government and football governing bodies going forward as part of its decision-making process.

The CPL was scheduled to kick off its second campaign on April 11, but halted pre-season training camps for all eight clubs back in March due to the pandemic. Players have been in self-isolation and working out on their own at home since then.