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||How many more teams are expected to join the CPSL next year (2003), i.e. more teams in Ontario and Quebec??? And is the CPSL expected to merge with other provincial leagues across Canada by 2003???
|We are dealing with several serious parties at this time and would expect one or two additions in Ontario next year or in 2004 at the latest. I believe there is only room for 3 or 4 more teams in Ontario at the absolute maximum. We are also in discussions with a group from across the US.
We do not want to rush any new franchise applicants into the League; it is better that they take additional time, if necessary, to make sure they have a great launch, including a strong financial base and significant inroads into the community and into the grass roots (the local youth clubs). The League is here to stay: It does not need to expand and it can afford to be selective.
We have also had discussions with parties in Quebec that believe they can add a couple of new teams by next year.
The past few years have shown that it often takes a couple of years between first contacting the office and the actual purchase of a franchise. Initially the interested parties find out what the League's expectations are and what the requirements are for operating a franchise successfully. Then they go about getting all their ducks in order with this latter step taking quite some time.
It should be noted that the bar is being raised each year not just for new applicants but also for the existing franchises.
Regarding your last question, I do not believe the League will merge with any other league(s). The League is owned 100% by it franchise owners. Any expansion will more than likely involve teams applying for membership/ownership. Presently, a new franchisee is on probation for three years before they can be granted shareholder status.
Although we are having continuous discussions with groups from across the country to expand the League from coast to coast, I believe that the future national league should be one league with several regional conferences, not several separate regional leagues working under one banner.
National expansion is a goal, however, it is critical that it be done right and a great deal of patience is required in order to overcome many of the different challenges each region poses.
There are many excellent senior leagues across the country that could fit into a national professional league. However, many of the leagues could not afford to lose several teams as it would jeopardize the existence of the current league, thus destroying a very important part of soccer's pyramid for play. In addition, many players may have a problem with forfeiting their amateur status by playing on a professional team.
I thank you for your questions Pat and I hope I have provided you with the information you were looking for.