Canada’s new pro-league says expansion will be fast

November 5 – The Canadian Premier League (CPL), which completed its inaugural season last weekend with Forge FC taking the title, is considering expansion.

CPL commissioner David Clanachan said that the league could expand in the near future from its current format of seven franchises. He said the league had received 18 expressions of interest, with three of those “very close” to joining the competition.

“We’re going to grow the game, we are going to grow it the right way,” said Clanachan.

“This is about doing it properly from a business perspective. You see so many leagues start off and then they fail because they have zero fiscal responsibility. This isn’t get a billionaire and make him a millionaire, that is not how it works.”

Forge FC, from Hamilton, defeated Calgary-based Cavalry FC 2-0 to take the title on aggregate. They could learn of their new league expansion competitors as early as this month though the league is unlikely to see the new franchise in playing action before the end of next season.

Clanachan has been satisfied with how the first season of the CPL has panned out in a sports market where soccer is of secondary importance. CPL matches have averaged a gate of 4,279 with 419,314 tickets sold overall.

“They (fans) are always going to raise the bar for you,” said Clanachan. “That’s why I am saying to all the clubs, all the guys at the office as good as we thought we might have been we’ve got to be better. People are going to say, well last year we gave you a pass we were on your side now we are going to be more critical and that’s when you’ve got to step up. We are going to need to be better and that’s everything: scheduling, how we entertain, play on the field that is all part of it.”

Canada will host the World Cup alongside Mexico and the United States in 2026 when the tournament for the first time will be played with 48 teams.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1574258749labto1574258749ofdlr1574258749owedi1574258749sni@o1574258749fni1574258749