Well this one came out of nowhere. The CSA announced today some changes to the future of the Canadian Championship. You can read the full details here, but here's a brief rundown of the changes, and yes, naturally it's all a vast conspiracy against the Whitecaps. Not sure exactly how yet, but I'm sure we'll know soon.
First up, the changes to the Canadian Championship. This year it's going ahead in April and May as we all knew, but in 2015 it will take place in July and August, after the Women's World Cup and the Gold Cup are out of the way. In 2016 and for the foreseeable future, it will settle into it's new 'more club and fan friendly' dates of June and July. Not sure why it's more friendly to the clubs, but presumably for the fans it's a weather thing, hoping the warm summer evenings will bring out a higher crowd to watch Vancouver find a hilarious new way to lose every year.
Next up, how it affects the CCL. Again this year all is as expected, the winner of the Voyageurs Cup get Canada's spot in the 2014/2015 CCL.
2015, that's when it gets wacky. The tournament won't be done in time, so instead the team that qualifies for the 2015/2016 edition of the CCL will be determined simply by league position this year. The MLS team with the highest league position in 2014 will qualify. This is a genuine shafting of Ottawa and Edmonton as they have literally no chance of qualifying, but also get ready for the cries from Vancouver. It's generally established that the West is a tougher conference and the unbalanced schedule of course means Vancouver play many more games against Western teams than Toronto and Montreal do. Damn you CSA, and damn you MLS for allowing such a situation to naturally develop over the years simply for the purposes of such a nefarious screwjob.
The year after that though, it goes back to the simple (if you're not Vancouver that is) 'win the Voyageurs Cup and you qualify for CCL) method but with a bit of a twist. The 2015 V-Cup champs will be in the 2016/17 CCL. 2016 qualifies for 17/18 and so on and so forth until the next time they decide things need to be changed.
So there you have it, seems straight forward enough and probably not something that's really worth thinking twice about, but hang on, what's that stop start, crash and bang, grunting sound I hear? That's right, it's the CFL. When does their season start? That's right, June. This is of no concern for Montreal of course with their stadium all of their own, or Edmonton at Clarke Stadium, but everywhere else, Ottawa, Vancouver and of course soon Toronto all share stadiums with CFL teams, can you say scheduling conflict? I do believe that most of the time we won't notice the markings, there'll be time between the games to somehow get rid of them, but there was always likely to be the odd game that popped up at an inconvenient time when fully scrubbing the lines and the ads away just isn't a possibility. Rather than being played in April and May when it's not a concern, these games have now become the prime candidate for being the one or two each year that just look awful. Let's hope Tim's magic disappearing paint technology is developing quickly.