CPL: Miss The Domestic U-21 Minute Marker? You’ll Also Miss Playoffs
An updated spotted on the Canadian Premier League has finally revealed a long-unanswered question about the penalties for a team that doesn’t hit the required 2,000 minute marker for its domestic U-21 athletes.
The league has clarified that any team that fails to meet the mandatory minute requirement over the course of the regular season will be ineligible to participate in playoffs, and will likely face significant financial penalties, among other undisclosed punishments.
While some of that is still vague, the news that a club could miss out on playoffs regardless of where they finish on the league table is a significant head-turner – especially for fourth-placed side Atletico Ottawa, who occupy a playoff position but have only accumulated 898 youth minutes thus far.
With eleven regular season games left for the capital city club to play, the club will need to hand its domestic youth players about 100 minutes of action per game to hit that marker. Only Zakaria Bahous has accumulated substantial minutes, with draft pick Jose Cunha making two appearances before largely disappearing from the matchday roster and Zachary Roy only recently getting some consistent off-the-bench opportunities.
Atletico Ottawa also took in Owen Antoniuk on loan from the Whitecaps FC 2 last month, though he has yet to make an appearance. Reigning champions Pacific FC are slightly further ahead, needing 817 domestic U-21 minutes in its next ten matches (about 81 minutes per game).
York United was the first club to hit the 2,000 minute mark this season, with the Nine Stripes more than doubling the required number of minutes. FC Edmonton has already hit the target as well, with Valour FC, Halifax Wanderers, Cavalry, and Forge likely to hit it within the next few games.
The Canadian Premier League had increased its required number of domestic youth minutes by 500 this season, reaching double the amount of what was asked since the league’s inaugural season four years ago.
No club has ever missed the marker, though two-time champions Forge FC cut things a little close at the pro-rated short Island Games season.
Assuming every club collects the mandatory minutes, the 2022 Canadian Premier League season will see the top four teams enter a two-legged semi-final playoff in October, with a single match final hosted by the highest seed following on October 29.