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Canadian Premier League given green light, aiming for 2018 start

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It appears Canada is about to have a league of its own.

[ MORE: U.S. 2026 World Cup bid fast-tracked for this week ]

Over the weekend, Canada Soccer officials revealed that plans for the Canadian Premier League have been approved and that Hamilton and Winnipeg will be founding cities for the new division.

Canada Soccer has already stated that at least 10 cities have already expressed interest in joining the new league, which hopes to take to the field as early as 2018.

Newly-elected Canada Soccer president Steven Reed helped unveil the news over the weekend. Former president Victor Montagliani stepped down from his role as head of Canada Soccer in an effort to devote his full attention to his duties with CONCACAF, where he serves as president.

“I would like to thank the Canada Soccer Membership for the opportunity as we continue the incredible momentum for the sport of soccer in our country,” Reed said in a statement. “This was an important day for our sport with the unanimous approval of the Canadian Premier League along with Hamilton and Winnipeg as new members of the Association and the overwhelming support for the 2026 FIFA World Cup joint bid with USA and Mexico.”

With several Canadian sides currently in existence, it is believed that the new division will initially stay away from cities that have franchises at this point.

As it stands, Toronto FC, the Montreal Impact and the Vancouver Whitecaps reside in Major League Soccer (MLS), while FC Edmonton and the Ottawa Fury play in the North American Soccer League (NASL) and United Soccer League (USL), respectively.

The big news for Canadian clubs taking part in the CPL would be the opportunity to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League. Currently, Canadian sides can only reach the CCL by winning the annual Canadian Championship, which consists of the five existing professional teams from north of the border.