With the now-former CPL Commissioner David Clanachan having stepped down, there is undoubtedly a lot of improvements that can happen in the Canadian Premier League. While Clanachan has done so much for domestic football in this country, his time in the CPL office was by no means perfect. While we do not yet know who will be the next commissioner, here are 3 things that the CPL office could improve on to help continue to improve the league.
1) More Transparency about League Information
This point in of itself has a plethora of different examples. I would say this would be the biggest drawback during Clanachan’s time. The league has a way of holding out information to its supporters, which can at times leave fans without major news for sometimes a month or two.
Of course, player wages are a major concern. For most of the first two seasons, the league was very tight-lipped about that very topic, which provided quite the backlash. Throughout the last season, things were made a bit more known, but it took far too long for the general folk to become aware of this.
Another good example of this is on expansion (more on this later). The league has kept this information very close to them, which is a bit too much. Giving fans more regular feedback (maybe once a month for example) would do quite a bit of good.
There are other examples that apply, but the two mentioned were the biggest ones. Naturally, things like the league’s financial health and the U-Sports Draft, the latter we still do not know the date for this year’s event, could use some improvement in communication with better timing.
2) Expansion information
In an interview with TSN’s Luke Wileman, Clanachan pointed out his one major regret throughout his time as CPL headmaster was not landing a team in Quebec. Fans from all over the country, not even just la Belle Provence, have been questioning why Canada’s largest province by landmass still does not have a team in the league.
While expansion has been methodical and carefully planned out, the league office has been too slow in general when it has come to expansion news. Even in interviews, Clanachan would regularly respond to question surrounding expansion by saying things like “we are talking to 4 or 5 other places currently.” As great as that sounds, the areas themselves are not being mentioned, leaving fans to suspect and guess where he may be talking. That is quite troublesome and the next Commish should consider keeping that in mind.
3) Player Salaries
Last on this list is another major concern among the players and fans. As already touched on, the league was largely silent about this in the first two seasons, but once numbers were finally released, there was some considerable panic.
Many players were being paid basically minimum wage, with several already retiring from the game citing their salaries being the principal roadblock. One of the biggest ways for the league to continue growing is by addressing this setback and improving on it. In doing so, it will result in fewer concerns for the players and their families.
It is well known to followers of the CPL that the players had been lobbying for a players’ union, which the league agreed to hold talks with potential player unions. This was long overdue and is a step in the right direction. While there have not been any major updates since, the new commissioner should be aiming to find a solution to this major issue.
Outgoing commissioner David Clanachan can leave with his head held high. He started the league and has seen it through a pandemic (in part). Setting the building blocks for a fully professional league in a country where such has been sorely lacking for decades is quite an achievement and is highly commendable. He can now focus on bringing football to his hometown in Windsor/Essex County.
With that said, however, now is the time for the league to continue pushing in that positive direction. Issues need to be resolved, plenty at that. The next overseer of Canada’s top flight will have their hands full in taking the baton from Clanachan and pushing the CPL to its potential.
Feature Photo Credit: Darren Goldstein