As announcement on amateur sports looms, players get one last game in over the weekend

The Quebec government is expected to hand down new restrictions on amateur sports in the province's red zones on Monday, but who will be affected is not yet clear.

On Saturday, a group of soccer players gathered in Ville Emard to get in what might be the season finale.

“It sucks but they should have done it a long time ago, if you ask me,” said Robert Bisebruk.

Premier Francois Legault promised on Friday that an announcement would come regarding sports on Monday. The cancellation of amateur sports could cause complications, as the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's season kicked off on Friday.

At the Ville Emard field, some players are unhappy at the prospect of no games.

“Everything else is closed. This is the last thing that we have,” said Cosmin Jimborean. “What are we going to do, stay inside and drink beer the whole winter? That's not going to be healthy.”

The Saturday soccer games have a distinct international flavour, with players from Brazil, Mexico, Romania and the Czech Republic joining in. Players said the games help them socialize and decompress during the pandemic.

“Having a little bit of an escape to do sports I think is good,” said Mario Ricardo.

The nature of Legault's announcement is unclear and even individual sports could be affected. Tennis coach Auguste Cuchet said he believes tennis will be permitted in some form, but his job might very well be affected.

“No one really know what's going to be said,” he said. “If I can't coach indoors, that's going to be problematic for me.”

He added that during the pandemic's first wave, singles tennis was allowed again before doubles was.

“If doubles is not allowed, it's not the end of the world,” he said. “It's less good for older crowds who like to play doubles.” 

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