Roughriders's COVID outbreak puts weekend title against Argos in jeopardy

·2 min read

REGINA — A COVID-19 outbreak among Saskatchewan Roughriders players has put the team's upcoming CFL showdown with the Toronto Argonauts in jeopardy.

The Roughriders cancelled their practice Wednesday after five players tested positive for the novel coronavirus Tuesday and another tested positive Wednesday.

The team says 13 players and five staff members test positive for COVID since July 12. Ten of the players are still in the team's health-and-safety protocol.

As of now, the team is taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to other practices this week and Saturday's game against Toronto at Mosaic Stadium. But GM/vice-president of football operations Jeremy O'Day says the time to make a decision on whether the game can go ahead is imminent.

"It's getting close to the point where it becomes difficult to have a game if you haven't had enough time to practice, or have enough players to go on your roster," O'Day said during a teleconference Wednesday.

"It's a very fluid situation," he added. "We don't know if we're at the end of (the outbreak) or if we'll have more players that test positive."

The Roughriders did not disclose which players have tested positive, but O'Day said the team has had cases at "just about every position." He added it's "about 50-50" between players who test positive and show symptoms and positive cases that are asymptomatic.

O'Day said the CFL does have a provision to allow a team in an emergency situation to temporarily use players on the practice roster of teams, and that the Roughriders have begun the process of exploring that option.

The Roughriders first announced "several members" of the team tested positive COVID-19 on Monday after the team had returned home following a 30-24 loss to Toronto in the Touchdown Atlantic game Saturday in Wolfville, N.S.

The CFL has not had to postpone a game yet this season due to COVID-19.

An outbreak on the Edmonton Elks during the shortened 2021 season led to the postponement of a game against Toronto that was ultimately made up later in the year.

The 2020 CFL season was cancelled because of the global pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 20, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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