FC Edmonton gets green light to return to training and start workouts

FC Edmonton announced on Wednesday that it has officially received approval from local and provincial health authorities, as well as the Canadian Premier League, to return to training.

The club will begin holding voluntary workouts for players at Clarke Stadium on Thursday.

“The team is excited to get back on the pitch but my priority still remains to do this as safely as possible for the players, staff, and their families,” FC Edmonton coach Jeff Paulus said.

The Eddies are the eighth and final CPL club to get the green light to resume training behind closed doors. HFX Wanderers FC and Pacific FC both began training last Monday, with York9 FC, Atlético Ottawa, and Valour FC joining them last week. Cavalry FC and Forge FC returned to the pitch on Monday.

In accordance with the CPL’s training protocols, FC Edmonton — like all other CPL sides — will be taking a multi-phase approach to returning, beginning with individual or small-group workouts, which will ensure that a secure, sanitary environment can be maintained and physical distancing measures can be followed by players and staff.

FCE indicated that the priority for its 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.

RELATED READING: David Clanachan: 2020 season could begin as soon as mid-July at a single site

The CPL’s second season was scheduled to kick off on April 11, but training camps and matches were suspended in March due to the pandemic. Players have been in self-isolation and working out on their own at home since then.

Earlier this week, CPL commissioner David Clanachan joined OneSoccer for a special Virtual Town Hall show, and he hinted that the CPL could start playing games as soon as mid- to late-July.

Clanachan said that the league and club owners spent much of last week devising a framework for the CPL’s possible 2020 season. The commissioner added that, having come up with some possibilities, a group of 12 to 16 CPL players was consulted, who approved of the basic framework.

Pressed for a timeline, Clanachan stated that it’s possible the 2020 CPL season could begin as soon as mid-July at a single site, with games stretching into August and September. That said, he also did not rule out matches being played in home stadiums this season if things go right.

“It’s a slim chance right now,” he said, “but can we not just hold onto that slim chance for now?”