League1 Ontario cancels ‘Summer’ season due to COVID-19, eyes Fall restart

League1 Ontario announced the cancellation of their 2020 “Summer” season on Saturday, scrapping all previously-scheduled matches due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cancellation doesn’t close the door on 2020, however, as league officials with Ontario’s top men’s and women’s competition will now look to host a truncated competition “no later than September 1st.”

League officials first postponed the 2020 season on March 20, a week after Canada Soccer sanctioned soccer associations across the country. Ontario Soccer has yet to give a green-light to soccer clubs and organizations, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to discourage large gatherings in the province.

“Obviously everything hinges on facility owners to give the green light in addition to Ontario Soccer and Canada Soccer as we go through the multiple stages of return-to-play,” League1 Ontario co-commissioner Dino Rossi said.

“But the ruling on those facilities was kinda the final straw for us. There’s no way for us to have an appropriate L1O season that starts in September.”

League1 Ontario’s 2020 season was set to kick off on April 24 with newly-condensed men’s and women’s competitions.

Officials cite the need for an adequate player pool to run a meaningful Fall tournament, adding the league is monitoring the decisions of the Ontario university and college athletic associations concerning the 2020 season.

“Every league is working on amended tournaments and competitions and we’re willing to do the same,” League1 Ontario co-commissioner Carm Moscato said. “We’re willing to entertain whatever is possible. Tournament formats as we’ve seen in the NWSL, they’ve given everyone a nice model.”

The announcement follows the Canadian Premier League’s statement on Friday which announced their interest in a 2020 season.

Five of eight CPL clubs have begun a return-to-training programs, including Ontario sides York9 FC and Atlético Ottawa.