‘We’ve formally asked for a meeting’: CPL hoping to get Atlético Ottawa into 2020 CanChamp

One of the biggest questions left to be answered about Atlético Ottawa, the Canadian Premier League’s newest member, is whether or not the club will be able to participate in the 2020 Canadian Championship.

Canada Soccer announced the format and schedule for this year’s tournament in December, before Atlético Ottawa had officially joined the CPL. As a result, there isn’t yet a ready-made place for them in what’s currently a 12-team bracket.

However, CPL commissioner David Clanachan offered on Tuesday that he’s hopeful they’ll be able to find a way for the new side to compete for the Voyageurs Cup in their first season. The question has not yet been answered, but he assured media in Ottawa that it’s something the league and the club are very much working toward.

RELATED READING: Atlético Ottawa firing on all cylinders ahead of 2020 kickoff || Atlético Ottawa’s Jeff Hunt relishes off-field challenge, targets sell-out

He clarified that, ultimately, the decision will up to Canada Soccer, who operates the competition and thus has final say on who is allowed to participate.

“So, the Canadian Championship, this is certainly something that, although we have the rights to broadcasting and sponsorship and all that as part of our deal with Canada Soccer, it’s a Canada Soccer property,” Clanachan told reporters at Atlético Ottawa’s unveiling event.

“They make the rules. We’ve formally asked for a meeting on how we can get Ottawa into the Canadian Championship, and it’s in process. But, certainly, Peter Montopoli and Joe Guest have been very receptive to including them in the Canadian Championship.”

So, it appears the wheels are turning for the Canadian Championship to return to Ottawa in 2020. Of course, the city has long been a fixture in the competition, with the Ottawa Fury taking part for six years, from 2014 to 2019.

The 2020 Canadian Championship kicks off in mid-June, with the final wrapping up in September. The original seven CPL clubs will participate, as will the three Canadian MLS clubs, League1 Ontario champions Masters Futbol, and PLSQ champions AS Blainville.