The effort to launch a Canadian Premier League at Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field looks to have hit a roadblock, with the city deciding to halt discussions until legal issues are resolved.
Hamilton has been slated as a host city for the Canadian Premier League, a planned Tier 1 FIFA-sanctioned soccer circuit. The Hamilton club is to be owned and managed by the owners of the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and play its games at Tim Hortons Field.
That plan is now facing some question marks, as the Hamilton City Council decided on Monday to not allow the team to renew a lapsed agreement that would allow the Tiger-Cats to launch a soccer club at the facility. A major issue is the ongoing and unresolved legal issues that stem from the development of Tim Hortons Field. More from CBC:
Infrastructure Ontario hired the construction consortium Ontario Sports Solutions to build the stadium, which was months late opening, causing the Ticats to play nearly an entire season at McMaster University.
Even after it opened, issues dogged the project, including a speaker the size of a bar fridge plummeting and taking out about 30 seats. The city says it would have been “catastrophic” if people were sitting in them when it happened.
Legal actions were filed, in varying combinations, between the Ticats, the city, Ontario Sports Solutions, the Pan Am organizing committee and Infrastructure Ontario. Kenaidan Contracting Ltd., which was part of the consortium with Bouygues Building Canada, begged the city’s forgiveness, but councillors still voted not to hire the firm for two years.
And it’s not over. Rom D’Angelo, the city’s head of facilities, said there’s still a little over $1 million in work that needs to be completed. The city has just issued a tender for someone to do it.
The original agreement that allowed the Tiger-Cats to bring professional soccer to the facility lapsed in May 2016. On Monday, the city issued a statement on the situation:
As previously communicated publicly, there is currently no soccer license agreement in place between the City of Hamilton as operator of Tim Hortons Field, and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Tiger-Cats’ soccer option under their license with the City expired in May 2016. A new negotiation between the parties would be required for the Tiger-Cats to bring soccer to the stadium. As of today, the City of Hamilton has decided not to pursue any business related to soccer at Tim Hortons Field until the stadium litigation is resolved.
As previously stated, the City of Hamilton has worked hard and in good faith to try to resolve the Tim Hortons Field litigation. However, the parties (contractors Ontario Sports Solutions (ONSS), Kenaidan Contracting, and Bouygues Building Canada; the project manager, Infrastructure Ontario; The PanAm organizing committee (Toronto2015), City of Hamilton, and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats) have been unable to reach a resolution to date. The City was not responsible for the construction of the stadium. It is confident in its position in the litigation and is committed to ensuring no additional costs for the stadium be passed on to its taxpayers.
Plans for the Canadian Premier League were unveiled in May, with a launch anticipated in 2018 and potential involvement from the owners of the Tiger-Cats as well as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
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