Paul Beirne named Canadian Premier League president

Paul Beirne named Canadian Premier League president

Paul Beirne has been installed as the first president of the Canadian Premier League (CPL), a new professional soccer league set to debut in the spring of 2019.

Having led efforts to establish the league over the past 18 months as project manager, Beirne will now manage day-to-day operations ahead of the CPL’s proposed launch next year.

As vice president of business operations at Toronto FC, Beirne previously helped launch the first Canadian franchise in Major League Soccer (MLS). He has also held senior executive roles with the Toronto Raptors, Ottawa Senators and Brighton & Hove Albion.

Beirne's appointment follows this month’s news that David Clanachan, the former president and chief operating officer of Canadian restaurant chain Tim Hortons, would serve as the league’s first chairman and commissioner.

“Paul is a driving force behind the launch of the CPL and has worked tirelessly to make the dream of a Canadian domestic league a reality,” said Clanachan.

“His insight, passion and leadership are instrumental not only to the viability of the CPL but also to the league’s clubs across the country that are destined to become an integral part of their communities.”

The CPL has yet to name its participating teams for its inaugural season. Canadian reports suggest league 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).