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Red Bulletin: Canadian Premier League makes its first hire

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The man who was also Toronto FC’s first employee has been named the league’s project manager.

Soccer: FIFA World Cup Qualifier-Honduras at Canada Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The wheels moving the Canadian Premier League are now in motion in a tangible sense. The Hamilton Spectator reported Tuesday that the prospective CPL has finalised its first official hire by appointing Paul Beirne as project manager.

Beirne apparently likes a challenge, because he was also the first employee of Toronto FC a decade ago as they prepared to enter MLS. He served as vice-president of business operations for the Reds before leaving for the Ottawa Senators in 2013. Most recently, he has worked for English Championship club Brighton & Hove Albion as their head of commercial development.

Waking the Red covered Beirne’s departure from Toronto at the time. Fairly or unfairly, no one associated with TFC in their early years escaped entirely unscathed due to the team’s lack of success on the pitch, but Beirne was generally well-regarded as pertained to the off-the-field matters he was responsible for and provided a welcome point of contact for fans with his presence on Twitter.

Beirne expects the CPL to comprise of “six to 10 teams across the country” in its first few years, with most of them ready for a 2018 kick-off. “It's totally viable (for 2018),” he said. “I'm just helping sift through what is real and working hard to make it happen.”

He added: “Canada has always been a big supporter of soccer. And while professional leagues have come and gone in the past, they haven't failed because of fan support.

“The core principle of the league is developing Canadian talent at the top level. Right now we have a big pyramid of players in Canada and it doesn't have a top to it.”

Beirne also confirmed that the league will have a salary cap in order to avoid potentially wealthy owners spending in excess in pursuit of unsustainable success.

“Sport is a funny business; you want to maintain a viable business but you also want to win,” he said. “Owners need to be protected from themselves.

“Expenses will be controlled not just for players, but for everything.”

50,000 tickets sold for the Big O

Toronto FC’s visit to the Montreal Impact for the first leg of their Eastern Conference final looks increasingly likely to sell out.

More than 50,000 tickets have been sold for the Olympic Stadium contest on November 22, with the stadium tower currently lit up like a barometer to measure the progress of sales.

Let’s hope the Reds can spoil the big night.

Recommended reading

John Molinaro of Sportsnet’s latest TFC interview is with Mark Bloom, who has been around longer than most.

For Narcos fans, FourFourTwo have a piece on Pablo Escobar’s involvement in Colombian football.