I, for one, cannot wait for the debate to come about the merits of pro-rel!
Seriously, though, this is a very interesting tidbit from Canadian Soccer News’ Duane Rollins:
Confirmed with two regular sources: #CanPL will launch with a plan to switch to a *ducking* Pro/Rel system once they hit 16 teams.— Duane Rollins (@24thminute) June 1, 2017
This is not the first time there has been mention of divisions within the Canadian Premier League...
Beirne sees CPL teams coast to coast and, eventually, in different divisions.
...but to this point most had assumed that referred to something similar to the two-conference structure of MLS in order to reduce travel.
Actually having a first division and a second division is much more surprising for a number of reasons, the most obvious of which is that creating one successful professional league is enough of a challenge without adding a second tier.
The upside is competitive; promotion and relegation battles, of course, would create much more drama and excitement than the wasteland that is the bottom half of the MLS table provides. A second tier would also allow smaller markets to take a slower, steadier approach towards creating a sustainable professional club without suffering morale-draining whackings every week in their early years by wealthier rivals.
Both of those things would be helpful, but I have to say I remain skeptical about the viability of an eight-team second division playing coast-to-coast as well as the potential for geographic imbalance that could create.
It certainly is nice to be talking about the possibility of sixteen Canadian professional soccer teams, though.