League1 Ontario announced Friday that it is targeting a 2021 season start date of July 2nd as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions continue to affect return-to-play plans for Ontario’s top men’s and women’s league. Officials also set a "drop-dead date" of June 7th for staging the 2021 season in the Summer, "with the priority of health and safety for all at the forefront." League officials initially targeted three potential start dates for a return to play – May 28th, June 16th, and July 2nd.
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"As player safety is always a top priority, our planning for a July 2nd start date will take into account allowing teams significant time for preseason training to reduce the risk of injuries due to the extended layoff," L1O managing director Matthew Braithwaite said. "The League will share an update on the start date status no later than June 7." League1 Ontario, founded in 2014, is set to welcome six new clubs and eight new teams in 2021; with Guelph United and Union, Waterloo United, 1812 FC, Tecumseh SC, St. Catherine's Roma Wolves, and Scrosoppi FC joining.