Home Canadian Premier League CanPL News and Notes The CanPL and midseason friendlies? “That’s something we will have to examine down the line”

The CanPL and midseason friendlies? “That’s something we will have to examine down the line”


There is a series of summer (dare we call them traditions?) in North American soccer. European and South American clubs take the appearance fees and play against pro teams in Canada and the United States, even though the North American clubs are in season.

Ask fans about these summer friendlies, and the opinions are divided. Some will say that they bring needed glamour and prestige to North American stadiums, and offer the people who have yet to support their local clubs a reason to come out to see games.

The other side will point out that these European and South American sides send out weakened lineups, go through the motions and, well, create scheduling nightmares for Canadian and American teams that have midweek friendlies smack-dab in the middle of the heaviest parts of their schedules.

I’ve been to more than a fair share of these international games, and the quality varies. Last year, I saw Valencia take on the NASL’s New York Cosmos in Regina; the Cosmos came out with a point to prove and were by far the more entertaining of the two sides. Valencia went through the motions. I’ve seen Toronto FC play Aston Villa, plus I’ve covered games between European giants playing in North American stadiums; Juventus, Inter Milan, Manchester United, Celtic, Panathinaikos…

But, the international tours are a big part of what SUM (the business arm of Major League Soccer) does. So, it’s worth asking if the nascent Canadian Premier League’s newly announced business arm will also go for international friendlies which will see league teams play European sides.

The answer? Not yet.

“Our goal is to help to build a soccer culture and industry in Canada and beyond, says CPL Commissioner and Chairman of Canadian Soccer Business David Clanachan. “We will take a thorough look at everything that enables us to do that, including bringing international teams and opportunities to Canada.

“As for in-season friendlies, and other opportunities for Canadian Premier League clubs, that’s something we will have to examine down the line. In the short term, we think we will have a very busy soccer season that includes our league schedule along with a very robust Canadian Championship – something that will be very important to our member clubs.”

The new business arm will look after local and national broadcasting rights, and will also handle the business side of Canada’s national teams.

The new CanPL is slated to kick off in 2019.

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  1. Kent

    April 6, 2018 at 10:47 am

    I’m a TFC fan, and I think for MLS teams they should avoid mid-season friendlies because of fixture congestion and a lack of anything to gain from it. MLS teams (mostly) are already well supported and don’t appear to be in danger of folding. There are eyeballs on them already.

    As for the CPL though, I would be supportive of them playing mid-season friendlies until they get to the point where they are no longer helpful. It could drive awareness of the league, bring people out to the stadiums to get familiarized and given a taste of live soccer in their own community, and hopefully bring in some cash that can help the teams stay afloat and grow.

    • Chris

      April 9, 2018 at 7:22 pm

      I agree.
      I think these kind of friendlies should be used in moderation and should be “Big Splashes.”
      What I mean is only one such match per year (two, at most) and no Crystal Palace or Wolfsburg or Valencia. I mean Barcelona/Real Madrid/Manchester United. Go big. Get the attention of the general population and the casual sports fan. It will be expensive, but no one in the CPL will be making much of a profit for about a decade anyway.

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