Raptors to start 2020-21 NBA season in Tampa

(Getty Images)

The Toronto Raptors will start the 2020-21 season in Tampa, Florida after being unable to secure permission to play in Canada. 

Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Canadian government requires any "non-essential" travellers to quarantine for two weeks when arriving in the country. 

The Raptors, NBA champions in 2019, will now relocate to Tampa for the start of the new season, which begins on December 22. 

In a statement, Raptors president Masai Ujiri said: "The Raptors worked diligently with public health officials at the local, provincial and federal level to secure a plan that would permit us to play our 2020-21 season on home soil and on our home court at Scotiabank Arena. 

"These conversations were productive and we found strong support for the protocols we put forward.

"Ultimately, the current public health situation facing Canadians, combined with the urgent need to determine where we will play, means that we will begin our 2020-21 season in Tampa, Florida. 

"So, we'll be away from our home and our fans for now. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I'm not sure that's possible for us. We love Toronto and Canada and we know we have the best fans in the NBA."