It’s been a year and a half in the making, but Canada Soccer has approved the long-discussed Canadian Premier League — and its first two members will be teams owned and managed by the Hamilton and Winnipeg Canadian Football League teams.
The new pro soccer league, pitched as the first of its kind in Canada, is currently set for a 2018 launch and is pitched as a Tier 1 FIFA=sanctioned soccer league. As noted, the owners of the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers have already signed on, and Canada Soccer say there’s been interest from 10 Canadian communities to participate.
Current there is an NASL team in Edmonton, while the Ottawa Redblacks runs the USL’s Ottawa Fury. In addition, MLS’s Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps run USL teams. (And, of course, there are MLS teams in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.) That leaves a few other markets (Calgary, Saskatchewan, Montreal) where CFL teams could potentially host Canadian Premier League teams. And, of course, Edmonton could potentially be wooed to switch. Halifax has also been pitched as hosting a Canadian Premier League team.
“The leadership of the Canadian Soccer Association has shown an outstanding commitment to its vision for the future of soccer in Canada with today’s decision to ratify the Canadian Premier League,” said Scott Mitchell, CEO of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who has spearheaded the effort among potential ownership groups. “The CPL will fill the existing void in Canada’s national soccer development platform by operating a world-class professional league, both on and off the field.”
“Today is an historic day for soccer fans, aka footie followers, in our country,” said Bob Young, Caretaker of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. “This day is only possible thanks to the unwavering support of soccer fans across Canada, such as our own Barton Street Battalion supporters.”
“We know from hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 in Winnipeg that this community has an undeniable passion for the sport,” said Wade Miller, Winnipeg Football Club President and CEO. “There has been a lot of work done behind the scenes to move this endeavor forward.”
RELATED STORIES: Halifax Could Host Canadian Premier League Squad