Robbie International Soccer Tournament and Festival cancelled for 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic

Southwest Scarborough's Birchmount Stadium traditionally hosts Robbie soccer tournament championship games. The 2020 Robbie has been cancelled due to ongoing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have led to the cancellation of this June’s Robbie International Soccer Tournament and Festival.

The announcement of the tournament’s cancellation was made in a statement on The Robbie’s website on April 7.

“COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on all our lives. We are adapting to social distancing and self-isolation and coping with the uncertainty when these restrictions will be lifted. In the best interests of everyone’s health and safety, the Robbie Committee has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Robbie International Tournament and Festival,” the statement said.

The 2020 festival and tournament had been slated for the weekends of June 20 and 27. An order by the City of Toronto ordering all mass-group permits cancelled until June 30 and parks amenities (including soccer fields) closed due to COVID-19, would have meant that the only way for The Robbie to take place this year was to find a later date in the summer or fall.

Given the ongoing uncertainty and concern about COVID-19, it was decided by the Robbie Committee to cancel this year’s event.

The 2020 tourney would have been the 54th annual. In past years, the tournament and festival have brought in excess of 400 boys and girls youth soccer teams to Scarborough, East Toronto, York and Durham regions for what is considered the world’s largest youth soccer tournament for charity.

“We know this will greatly disappoint many coaches, athletes and their families, and match officials who look forward to The Robbie which was established over 50 years ago to promote soccer and donate proceeds to Cystic Fibrosis Canada,” said the statement on The Robbie’s website.

“We thank everyone for their continued support of the Robbie Tournament and Festival. Please look for communications during the coming months from The Robbie with themes of soccer and community support. We look forward to your participation in the 2021 Robbie celebrating 55 years of partnership in raising funds for research in finding a cure for Cystic Fibrosis while enjoying ‘the beautiful game.’”

Since its inception, The Robbie has raised funds for Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

The tournament is named after Robbie Wimbs, who had cystic fibrosis and was the inspiration for holding the first tourney back in 1967. That first tournament featured eight teams and raised just over $47. In the decades since, The Robbie has raised almost $2 million for CF Canada.

Since it began, some 12,000 teams and 250,000 soccer players have taken part in The Robbie.

Some notable people to have played in The Robbie when they were young include Dwayne De Rosario, Jordan Hamilton, Bill Manning, Vicky Sunohara, Peter Zezel, Jim Creegan, Kadeisha Buchanan, Jonelle Filigno, Melissa Tancredi and Diana Matheson.

The tournament has also been made famous in the Barenaked Ladies song One Week with the closing line Birchmount Stadium Home of the Robbie.

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