Clanachan on 2020 Expansion Clubs: ‘I’d Be Happy If I Had One’
Canadian Premier League commissioner David Clanachan had previously revealed that there were multiple ownership groups looking into establishing CPL clubs around the country, with a strong focus on British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec – among other provinces.
Yesterday, OMNI News ran an interview with Clanachan where he seems to be tempering expectations for the 2020 season, saying that he’d be happy to have one expansion team for next year, although talks are still ongoing with a multitude of ownership groups:
“We’re talking to some clubs right now – we’d like to announce some expansion teams this year. I’d be happy if I had one, so we’re working really hard on that. [There are] three or four teams that are further ahead than others, but still talking to over eighteen different regions and cities and clubs about coming in.“David Clanachan
With the Ottawa Fury having snubbed the Canadian Premier League after being widely expected to join it for the inaugural season, Clanachan may be trying to slow down expectations of aggressive expansion.
Still, with three or four clubs being earmarked as ‘further ahead’ than most, things are certainly progressing behind the scenes – though not every ownership group will end up founding a club. Clanachan said he’d ideally like to announce multiple teams for 2020, so the possibility of exceeding expectations is still on the cards.
At face value, it seems like the most likely bet for which area is ‘further ahead’ is Quebec. Alex Bunbury, who helped lead the Got Game Open Trials, has been outspoken about establishing a club in Laval. He believes that a league calling itself Canadian needs to have one club from Quebec, if not two or three. He was also quick to talk about a Quebec City expansion team he heard was coming up, but after signing an NDA the retired Canadian international has gone radio silent on Quebecois expansion talk.
This month, the Canadian Premier League started putting a new focus on french content, which is a necessary step if the league wants to get the attention of fans within the province. The signs are there.
Elsewhere, Joe Belan’s ownership group has been proceeding with a hands-on litmus test to see if the province of Saskatchewan can sustain a Canadian Premier League club. The SK Summer Soccer Series just announced that its locally-curated team will play against Toronto FC II this August, and the group is already talking about returning next year.
An expansion club in Mississauga will almost-certainly depend on the results of a stadium feasibility survey conducted by the city, the results of which are expected this fall. Eastwards towards Durham reveals speculation that an ownership group is being backed by one of the richest entrepreneurs in Canada, who had previously attempted to kickstart an MLS franchise in Detroit.
There are many possibilities for where the Canadian Premier League could find itself in the near future, and as Clanachan had said earlier, not all of the ownership groups are going to make it – but he’s indicating that some front-runners have made good progress. With over eighteen regions currently in talks with the league, it’s anyone’s game – though it’s clear that fans will consider anything less than a sole expansion team in 2020 a failure.
Whatever happens next with the Ottawa Fury also remains a mystery, especially given that CONCACAF almost removed sanctioning for the team to play in the USL this year – a fact which makes its Canadian Championship matchup against Halifax Wanderers all the more interesting.
Source: OMNI News