A ruling by CONCACAF has put Ottawa Fury FC‘s 2019 season in doubt, as the confederation will not sanction the club’s planned participation in USL Championship.
Ottawa was slated to return to USL Championship–the Division II circuit under the USL umbrella–as its lone Canadian club in 2019. That was despite rumors of a potential shift to the Canadian Premier League, an upstart circuit that will begin play next season with seven teams. Although Ottawa had already stated its intention to return to USL Championship next season, and received Canadian Soccer Association approval to do so, the governing body CONCACAF still had to weigh in.
CONCACAF did not sanction Fury FC for 2019 play in USL Championship. While it has sanctioned Ottawa’s presence in the league for previous seasons, it did not do so for 2019, reportedly on the grounds that Canada now offers a comparable circuit. With three months remaining until the USL Championship campaign begins, Fury FC has said it will fight the ruling and push to field a team in the circuit next season. More from the Ottawa Sun:
“This action by CONCACAF is unprecedented and simply wrong,” Mark Goudie, OSEG president and CEO, said in a statement. “Our lawyers have requested that CONCACAF immediately provide further details on the basis for this decision. We also understand that Canada Soccer will be seeking clarification as to the rationale for CONCACAF’s decision. In the event that CONCACAF does not immediately reconsider its position, Fury FC will take all steps — including legal proceedings — so as to ensure that it will be able to continue providing soccer to our loyal and new fans and supporters in a league of our choosing.”
Fury FC has in its corner the country’s MLS teams, added Goudie.
“I am grateful for the pledges of support that we have received today from Canadian MLS clubs Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, who understand the important role that Fury FC currently plays in the Canadian professional soccer pathway and landscape at the high-calibre North American Division II level,” Goudie stated.
Not impressed is the USL, whose president, Jake Edwards, said “it’s wrong” for CONCACAF to take such a stance at this time.
Until the club announced its 2019 plans several months ago, it was speculated that Fury FC could shift to the Canadian Premier League. Although it did not rule out a future change in leagues, the club noted at the time that stability was one of the main factors in its decision to stick with the USL.
Image courtesy Ottawa Fury FC.
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