The Canadian government will not allow the NBA champions in 2019, the Toronto Raptors, to play in Canada while the covid-19 pandemic is not under control, club sources informed Efe this Friday.
The decision, which is expected to be officially announced in the next few hours, forces the only Canadian NBA team to urgently search for a location in the United States to start the next season of the professional basketball league.
The teams are scheduled to start the preseason on December 1 with the call of their players while the first official match of the 2020-2021 competition is scheduled to take place on December 22.
Canada has closed its border with the United States to all travel deemed nonessential from spring to control the spread of the disease. Precisely today, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the border will remain closed until at least December 31.
Travelers coming to Canada from abroad are required to adhere to a two-week isolation quarantine unless they receive an exemption. The Canadian authorities’ refusal to grant this exemption to the Raptors players and coaching staff makes it impossible for the Canadian team to play at its Toronto headquarters.
For months, both the Raptors and the NBA have been exploring with Canadian health authorities, medical protocols so that the team could receive its rivals in Toronto and that its players could travel to the United States without the need for quarantine.
But given the possibility that the Raptors could not start the season in Canada, the team has been studying the possibility of temporarily settling in Tampa (Florida), Kansas City (Missouri), Nashville (Tennessee) or Newark (New Jersey).