CPL Releases Statement On Women’s Professional Soccer
The Canadian Premier League has issued a formal statement following the announcement of a planned professional women’s league helmed by Project 8 and, evidently, not involved with the CPL in any manner:
“We are incredibly excited about the potential for women’s professional soccer in Canada and, of course, are aware of the newly proposed Canadian women’s professional soccer league as well as other proposals that have yet to be made public.
Like any sound business proposition, all proposed initiatives must pass the rigour of thorough marketplace diligence, have individual clubs apply and be accepted into membership of Canada Soccer, and satisfy its standards for professional league membership. This is not an easy road, as we know, but will ensure any league eventually accepted into Canada Soccer membership is set up for long term success.
The CPL is interested in any initiative that will help contribute to the growth of soccer in Canada and is currently reviewing all options in the women’s professional space.
Meanwhile, via Canadian Soccer Business, we will continue to invest in, operate, and develop our League1 Women’s programs, which featured 39 Premier Teams across Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec (via Premiere Ligue De Soccer Du Quebec) during the 2022 season, culminating in the League1 Canada Women’s Inter-Provincial Championship.
We look forward to reviewing all potential opportunities with the various stakeholders as they develop and wish everyone involved in the process all the best.”
The newly-proposed domestic professional women’s league was unveiled by former Canadian Women’s National Team midfielder Diana Matheson and iconic Canadian striker Christine Sinclair on Monday evening, with plans to launch in 2025 with eight teams.
Both CIBC and Air Canada have signed on as sponsors, and it looks like Dome Productions will be helping to facilitate broadcast or streaming services. The league hopes to field plenty of domestic talent on the pitch in addition to having one Canadian international on each roster.
The as-yet-unnamed league hopes to become a member of Canada Soccer next year, and earn its sanctioning in 2024. In the meantime, Matheson and her business partners are seeking bids for the six of eight teams left to claim, with the Vancouver Whitecaps and Calgary Foothills having stepped up to the plate already.
See Also: Could Women’s Pro Soccer Find A Home In Halifax?
It’s no secret that the Canadian Premier League has its own aspirations to field a professional women’s league, though significant progress hadn’t yet been made (at least, publicly). York United had also hoped to field a League1 Ontario affiliate women’s team too, but this project was eventually sidelined.
It’s also worth pointing out that the statement mentions ‘other proposals that have yet to be made public’, leading some to think that the Canadian Premier League is preparing to back another proverbial horse. Given that they’ve had their own plans brewing, this wouldn’t come as a shock.
With the Canadian football landscape rapidly changing, it’ll be interesting to see what shape Matheson’s planned football league takes – and if any competition pops up now that the first flag has been planted.