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Blue Jays await federal government response as Toronto FC plans to return home

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TORONTO – As Toronto FC aims to return home to host a game on July 17 at BMO Field, the Toronto Blue Jays await a response from the federal government on a proposal that would bring them back to the Rogers Center for a home stay at starting July 30.

Bill Manning, president of the Major League Soccer team that took refuge in Orlando’s Exploria Stadium this season, told reporters Sunday that the team planned to travel to Toronto on Thursday. While the club has not yet received clearance to host its competition against Orlando later this month at its downtown Toronto stadium, Manning said during a news conference that he is “optimistic” and that ongoing discussions “are on the correct address”.

The specific details of the club’s plans were not immediately known, although Manning mentioned that the regulations “allow us to go home and train those who are fully vaccinated, so we will surely take advantage of that.”

Los Azulejos submitted their own homecoming request to the federal government in recent weeks, according to an industry source, a proposal that has already received municipal and provincial approval. They will begin a 10-game home stay on July 30 and have yet to announce a venue for those games against the Kansas City Royals, Cleveland and Boston Red Sox.

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While Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro said last month that the team would need about three weeks’ notice to move north from their makeshift home at Buffalo’s Sahlen Field, delivery time could be shortened, which will allow more time for the process to develop.

If federal government approval doesn’t come in time for those games, the next goal would be a seven-game home stay against Detroit and the Chicago White Sox beginning Aug. 20.

The Blue Jays’ plan is likely to be built around easing border restrictions for returning travelers that take effect Monday, and should also take into account the unvaccinated segment of Major League Baseball players.

One possibility is that fully vaccinated players have the same freedoms as other returning travelers, while unvaccinated players would be subject to some sort of modified cohort quarantine similar to those used by the Montreal Canadiens and their opponents in the semifinals and finals of the NHL Stanley Cup. and teams in the Olympic basketball qualifying tournament.

During his remarks last month, Shaprio said that border restrictions were the main obstacle standing between the club and going home, and that any proposal would likely cover travel rules for its players, their families and visiting teams. Approvals from both the union and MLB would also be needed.

According to June 25 data released by MLB and the players union, 23 of the 30 major league teams have reached the 85 percent threshold for full vaccination of Level 1 individuals (players, managers, coaches, doctors, coaches and strength and conditioning). personal).

The total mass vaccination rate for Level 1 individuals was 85.4.

Ben Nicholson-Smith is Sportsnet’s baseball editor. Arden Zwelling is a senior writer. Together, they bring you the most comprehensive Blue Jays podcast in the league, covering the latest news with opinions and analysis, as well as interviews with other team members and insiders.

Almost all Toronto FC players and all staff are fully vaccinated, reported Neil Davidson of The Canadian Press.

Attendance policies would be governed by the Ontario Return to Play Framework for Professional Sports, a pathway linked to stages of reopening of the province.

The Blue Jays, who are playing their home games through at least July 21 at Sahlen Field after calling TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida. home during April and May, they have been displaced since the pandemic began. Their last game at the Rogers Center was an 8-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on September 29, 2019, although they hosted their restart camp in the dome last summer.

Toronto FC last played at BMO Field on September 1, 2020.

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