The Canadian Football League has canceled its 2020 season because of the pandemic.
The decision marks the first year since 1919 the Grey Cup won't be awarded.
The nine-team league announced the move Monday, dashing hopes of a shortened season in the hub city of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Commissioner Randy Ambrosie says the cancellation was in the "best long-term interests" of the league and the CFL is "absolutely committed" to 2021.
“Our league governors decided today it is in the best long-term interests of the CFL to concentrate on the future,” said Ambrosie in a press release. “We are absolutely committed to 2021, to the future of our league and the pursuit of our vision of a bigger, stronger, more global CFL.”
The league had requested a $30 million loan from the Canadian government but was denied Sunday, according to TSN. The loan would have been used to finance a season.
“Even with additional support, our owners and community-held teams would have had to endure significant financial losses to play in 2020,” Ambrosie said. “Without it, the losses would be so large that they would really hamper our ability to bounce back strongly next year and beyond. The most important thing is the future of our league.”
The CFL, unlike other major leagues in North America, does not have the luxury of a billion-dollar television contract.
While its deal with TSN has become more lucrative over the years, the CFL remains a gate-driven league, a major problem when fans aren't allowed in the stands.