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A day after Ontario moves into the much-anticipated Step 3 of the provincial COVID-19 reopening plan, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and the Toronto FC will welcome soccer fans at BMO Field for the team’s first game in Canada in nearly a year.

For the first time since September, Toronto FC will be facing off at its home stadium in the city’s downtown against Orlando City SC at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

According to a statement issued by the team Wednesday afternoon, 7,000 fans made up of frontline health care workers, emergency crews and season seat holders will be allowed to attend.

Read more:
Toronto FC to remain in Orlando until games at BMO Field are possible

“It has been a long, hard time on the road due to pandemic protocols and we have greatly missed the energy and support of our fans at BMO Field,” Bill Manning, president of Toronto FC, wrote.

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“Our return to Canada gave the team an incredible boost this week and we look forward to an emotional night at BMO Field with our fans on Saturday.”

The statement said the team returned to Canada on Thursday after beginning its season at Exploria Stadium in Orlando. In total, four matches were played there.

There will be a suite of public health measures at BMO Field, including the use of hand sanitizer and keeping the venue cashless.

Under Step 3 of the Ontario government’s reopening plan, which comes into effect on Friday, up to 15,000 spectators or 75 per cent of the usual seating capacity are allowed at outdoor sports facilities.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs welcomed 550 fully vaccinated health care workers during a May game at the Scotiabank Arena as part of the NHL Playoffs, but Saturday’s Toronto FC game will be the first major professional league game in the city after the move into Step 3.

The Toronto Blue Jays are currently seeking permission from the federal government, which is responsible for decisions relating to quarantining and the border, to hold home games at the Rogers Centre.

More to come.




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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