The Canadian Premier League (CPL), a new professional soccer league set to launch in the spring of 2019, has named David Clanachan as its first chairman and commissioner.
The former president and chief operating officer of Canadian restaurant chain Tim Hortons, Clanachan will oversee all aspects of the CPL, including the forthcoming announcement of its participating teams.
A CPL statement said Clanachan’s first order of business will be to confirm franchises ‘in key Canadian communities from coast to coast’. Canada Soccer, the country’s national governing body, has already signed up as a member of the CPL, along with founding cities Hamilton and Winnipeg.
According to Sportsnet, CPL executives are currently in discussions with interested ownership groups in 12 to 15 cities and expect to launch with between eight and ten teams.
Three of Canada’s existing professional soccer franchises - the Vancouver Whitecaps, Montreal Impact and Toronto FC - all currently play in Major League Soccer (MLS), while Ottawa Fury FC and Toronto FC II both compete in the second-tier United Soccer League (USL).
FC Edmonton, who had been rumoured to be joining the CPL, folded late last year having struggled to attract fans and sponsors in the troubled North American Soccer League (NASL).
Alongside managing the day-to-day operations of the CPL out of the league’s new head office in downtown Toronto, Clanachan, an Ontario native, plans to continue as an advisor for RBI Canada, the Canadian arm of Tim Hortons’ parent company.
“It’s an absolute honour to have been selected as commissioner of the CPL and to lead the ground-breaking team that ushers in this exciting new era of Canadian professional soccer across the country,” said Clanachan.
“Soccer is a lifelong passion of mine – as I know it is for countless Canadians – and the CPL will not only fuel Canada’s love for soccer, but it will also cultivate a new generation of players, coaches, officials and business leaders.”