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OFFICIAL: Canadian Premier League set to return August 13 with “The Island Games”

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Mark your calendars! Canada’s top-flight professional soccer league is returning for its second season in mid-August. Here are all of the details.

CPL: Canadian Premier League Finals
Forge FC celebrate winning the inaugural North Star Shield
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports for CPL

The Canadian Premier League will return on August 13, 2020 with “The Island Games,” league Commissioner David Clanachan announced on Wednesday afternoon.

Clubs will head to Charlottetown, PEI for the league’s second campaign, with expansion side Atlético Ottawa among them. Teams will play behind closed doors at the UPEI Alumni Field.

A rematch of last year’s final, Forge FC vs Cavalry FC, will kick things off on August 13, and the tournament will go until September. The full schedule will be released at a later date.

With the addition of an eighth club prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the CPL announced a changed schedule format from that of the 2019 season. The new schedule was supposed to see each club play each other twice home and twice away. First place in the table would then automatically qualify for the CPL Finals, while the second- and third-place teams would play one another for the other spot in the final, but unfortunately, that format has had to change.

Instead, all eight Canadian teams will partake in a round-robin tournament, with each team playing each other once before the top-four sides make it into an expanded playoffs. Those four teams will play a second round robin — one game against each other team — with the top two advancing to the final, which will be a single leg.

The Island Games will count as the 2020 season, and the winner will lift the North Star Shield. The champion will also qualify for the 2021 CONCACAF League tournament.

“We are excited about The Island Games / Canadian Premier League 2020 season and the level of support from the Government of PEI, and City of Charlottetown who have been at the forefront of all our planning with our priority being that every participant and PEI citizens will be safe,” said Canadian Premier League Commissioner, David Clanachan. “We are appreciative of all their hard work and their enduring support in making our season a reality.”

The City of Langford, British Columbia and Moncton, New Brunswick were also among the finalists to host this event, but ultimately Charlottetown was chosen.

“Charlottetown is thrilled to have been selected as the hub city for the 2020 Canadian Premier League season, particularly during these challenging economic times,” said Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown. “As a highly ranked Canadian sport hosting destination, Charlottetown is always at the top of our game. Hosting the CPL is sport tourism at its core and will drive much prosperity to our capital city. The Birthplace of Confederation is ready to welcome the CPL with open arms and wishes the League the best of luck with what is sure to be a memorable season.”

Every match will be available to watch on OneSoccer.