CF Montréal president Kevin Gilmore has said he disagrees with the decision to send Toronto FC to the Concacaf Champions League, believing instead his club should have been Canada’s lone representative as the last to raise the Voyageurs Cup.
“The Canadian champion currently is this team,” Gilmore told the Montreal Gazette. “We devalue the Canadian championship by saying the Canadian champ doesn’t get to go this year. To me, it just makes zero sense."
Toronto FC and Forge FC of the Canadian Premier League were set to meet in the Canadian Championship final March 20 at Tim Hortons Field, but issues related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced the match’s further postponement.
With the Canadian representative set to meet Club Leon April 7 in the first leg of the CCL Round of 16, Canada Soccer decided, after discussions with Toronto FC and Forge FC, the MLS side would claim the Champions League berth.
"Canada Soccer looks forward to hosting the Canadian Championship Final at Tim Hortons Field and celebrating the achievements of both clubs with their fans in the stands in a safe manner," Canada Soccer president Dr. Nick Bontis said in a statement last week. "Eventually, we will crown a Battle of the North champion and award the Voyageurs Cup for the 2020 season. We recognize that the past year has been difficult for Canadians and applaud the valiant efforts of all public health authorities including the Government of Ontario, Forge FC and Toronto FC in support of hosting the Canadian Championship Final. All parties have agreed to coordinate the future scheduling of the 2020 final in a true show of collaborative sportsmanship.”
The Canadian Championship final will still be played at a later date. Had Forge, which hasn’t been able to train since December, forfeited the match, Gilmore said he wouldn’t have been upset. But that the berth was awarded following meetings rather than on the pitch is what he says irks Gilmore the most.
“It’s a boardroom decision as opposed to any decision that gets made on the field,” Gilmore told the paper. “At no point did Canada Soccer even consider this. As far as they’re concerned, it was the right decision to make. They’re perfectly comfortable with it. I don’t agree.
“It’s called the Champions League. It’s not called the finalist’s league.”