Time’s up for the Canadian Soccer League.
The CSL – a regional professional league based mostly in Ontario – is now a pariah within the Canadian soccer community, after the Canadian Soccer Association voted to expel the CSL from its membership.
According to a CSA release, “it was determined that the Canadian Soccer League did not fulfill its member obligations and violated rules and regulations of the Canadian Soccer Association, resulting in its expulsion and the cancellation of all rights in relation to the national governing body.”
A CBC investigation in 2012 outlined allegations of match-fixing in the CSL. On Feb. 28, the CSA board voted to expel the league, with immediate effect, meaning that “current members in good standing” with the CSA (i.e. players, coaches, referees) “may not entertain contact with the CSL (non-member) or risk sanctions themselves,” according to the release.
The Ontario Soccer Association has already announced that any of its certified referees found to be working in unsanctioned leagues (such as the CSL) would face a 30-day suspension for a first offense, three to six months for a second and one to two years for a third.
“We have informed the Canadian Soccer League of our decision,” CSA president Victor Montagliani said in the release. “The Canadian Soccer Association can now continue its work in supporting the development of elite-level, semi-professional regional leagues that will provide the appropriate bridge between high-performance youth players and national and professional team selection.”
Those regional semi-pro leagues were recommended to the CSA last year by the Easton Report – a report commissioned by the CSA and helmed by former national team player James Easton. The CSA has incorporated that recommendation into its latest strategic plan and it’s clear that those leagues will be a part of the CSA’s mandate going forward.
The CSL, however, will not.