Canada Soccer Thursday announced that Toronto FC will be the Canadian representative in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League with an agreement reached by Canada Soccer.
Forge FC and Toronto FC that every effort will be made to hold the Canadian Championship at a later date. pending league schedules and in accordance with all public health and safety measures. Forge FC is still not able to return to full training and as such the agreement reached will see Toronto FC face Club León at Estadio León on Wednesday. April 7 in the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League Round of 16.
In December 2020, prior to Forge FC’s game in the 2020 Concacaf League, Canada Soccer confirmed that the Canadian Championship final would be played in the first quarter of 2021 per requirements to advance a Canadian representative to the 2021 Concacaf Champions League.
Since this January, Canada Soccer and both clubs discussed March 20 as the scheduled date for the Canadian Championship final, which was the last Saturday before clubs had to release players to national teams for FIFA’s fixed dates for international matches. The proposed date also provided the necessary time for the advancing club to make preparations for travel and hosting their home 2021 Concacaf Champions League games outside of Canada.
Through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions put in place to ensure the health and safety of Canadian citizens, the revised schedules for the two finalists from different leagues, including the Concacaf League, did not provide any reasonable opportunity for the Canadian Championship Final to be played in 2020. Canada Soccer acknowledges the tremendous amount of work that was done by all parties to get approvals for the final to be played in Canada before the deadline for the 2021 Concacaf Champions League Round of 16. Canada Soccer also acknowledges the Province of Ontario for their efforts in providing guidance and consideration in an effort to have the match ultimately played in the province in March.
“Canada Soccer looks forward to hosting the Canadian Championship Final at Tim Hortons Field and celebrating the achievements of both clubs with their fans in the stands in a safe manner. Eventually, we will crown a Battle of the North champion and award the Voyageurs Cup for the 2020 season,” Canada Soccer president Dr. Nick Bontis said in a statement. “We recognise that the past year has been difficult for Canadians, and applaud the valiant efforts of all public health authorities including the government of Ontario, Forge FC and Toronto FC in support of hosting the Canadian Championship Final. All parties have agreed to coordinate the future scheduling of the 2020 final in a true show of collaborative sportsmanship.”
Toronto FC qualified for the Canadian Championship by winning a round-robin competition among Canadian MLS clubs in summer 2020. The club is the last of 16 teams confirmed for this year’s 2021 Concacaf Champions League, which kicks off Tuesday, April 6. Toronto FC and Club León will play their two Round of 16 matches April 7 and 14. The quarterfinals are set for April 27-29 and May 4-6 (two matches).