The move was made in the aftermath of Canada Soccer’s recommendation last week to ban all sanctioned soccer activities in Canada. Most provinces have implemented limits on public gatherings, too.
Beyond the obvious – a later start and a delayed pre-season – there are several knock-on effects for the CPL from Friday’s announcement.
Atlético Ottawa afforded more time
Of course, Atlético Ottawa is far from unaffected. Parent organization Club de Atlético de Madrid is in one of COVID-19’s most hardest hit countries, and the La Liga outfit has been dormant since its second-leg Champions League victory over Liverpool earlier this month.
Ottawa will, ultimately, have more time to organize and prepare after launching just a few months before the season. Club operators, for example, can better assess staffing options, better flesh out plans for the in-game experience at TD Place Stadium, and much more.
Oh, and coach Mista is given more flexibility in terms of the squad-building process. Any extra time for assessment, remote scouting, and phone calls would be gladly appreciated for a coach tasked with adding a few pieces to a new team. Whether it will look like CanPL.ca’s Football Manager 20 projection remains to be seen.
Fixture congestion could factor in 2020
As pointed out by CanPL.ca’s Steven Sandor, the world footballing calendar is about to shift dramatically. Postponing the CPL start date will likely give a more condensed feel to the 2020 season – but it won’t be as significant as you think.
Clubs were given a lighter schedule in 2020 compared to 2019, including only a handful of midweek matchdays (around 90 per cent of matches in 2020 were set to be played on weekends). This leaves room for flexibility.
Let’s say the season is delayed until May 1 – three matchdays in total will be affected. Schedule makers could simply shift these games to any of the half-dozen Tuesday-Wednesday slots available up until early October.
In-season Olympic qualifying
With a delayed season, CPL clubs can anticipate losing some top young talent due to Olympic qualifying.
The 2020 Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship was postponed last week with no new date set by North American soccer’s governing body. If the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo go on as planned, Canada’s under-23 team will need to play a qualifying tournament.
Whether this competition is in May, June, or even later, it’s bound to run concurrent to the CPL season.
This could be a big blow to CPL teams as a crop of young players would be away on international duty for almost a month, should they get called up by Canada and are released by their clubs.
Canadian Championship put into focus
Speaking of postponements, the 2020 Canadian Championship could be next on the docket.
While a mid-June start date gives Canada Soccer a bit of time to react to the measures around the spread of COVID-19, CPL’s postponement certainly puts the Voyageurs Cup’s 2020 future into perspective.
However, just like the CPL, there are some easy on-paper adjustments that could easily be made by Canada Soccer – maybe, moving away from two-legged ties would be a good start?
Added recovery time for injuries
We’re looking at you, Cavalry FC.
Fullbacks Chris Serban and Dean Northover, and midfielder Mauro Eustaquio haven’t yet re-signed with Cavalry as they recover from major, season-ending injuries from last year. Cavalry said they would assess the trio on their return to full fitness
So, Cavalry isn’t playing on April 11. Perhaps this gives these three a greater chance of becoming healthy and rejoining their group?