in ,

The Toronto Raptors will play as locals in Florida, more than 2,000 km away, due to the pandemic

Toronto Raptors players.

Toronto Raptors players. EP

The Toronto Raptors will move to Tampa (Florida) to start the NBA season after the Canadian authorities rejected the team’s request to avoid the quarantine that all people who come to the country have to maintain to control the covid-19 pandemic.

Club sources informed Efe today of the decision of the Canadian authorities shortly before team president, Masai Ujiri, issued a statement in which he announced the decision of the Raptors to settle temporarily in Tampa to start the season.

“The Raptors have worked diligently with local, provincial, and federal health authorities to ensure a plan that would allow us to play the 2020-21 season at our home at the Scotiabank Arena (Toronto), “Ujiri stated.

“Finally, the current public health situation that Canadians face, combined with the urgent need to determine where we will play it means that we will start the 2020-21 season in Tampa, Florida, “added the Raptors president, confirming the move to a city located more than 2,000 kilometers away from Toronto.

NBA 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 It is scheduled to be held on December 22.

Canada has closed its border with the United States to all travel deemed non-essential since spring to control the spread of the disease. Precisely this Friday, 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 refusal of the Canadian authorities to grant this exemption to the players and technical equipment of the Raptors makes it impossible for the Canadian team to play at their Toronto headquarters.

For months, both the Raptors and the NBA have been exploring with Canadian health authorities, medical protocols for the team could host their rivals in Toronto and that its players could travel to the United States without the need for quarantine.

The Raptors have been studying the possibility of temporarily settling in Tampa, Kansas City (Missouri), Nashville (Tennessee) or Newark (New Jersey) and although the Canadian team has decided to start the season in Florida, Ujiri’s statement does not clarify if it will be the team’s final headquarters for the rest of the season.