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Northern Exposure: Canada leads the charge as Tokyo 2020 is postponed

Your weekly wrap up of everything to do Canada Soccer

Olympics: Tokyo 2020 City Views
Olympic rings monument at Rainbow Bridge, Odaiba, Tokyo. On Monday the IOC announced that the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics Games would be postponed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
(Taguchi/USA TODAY Sports)

Canada Pulls Out of 2020 Olympics

The Canadian Olympic Team has announced that they will not be sending any athletes to the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan because of COVID-19 risks. The Canadian team also called on the International Olympic Committee to postpone the games for one year.

This is tough news for the Canadian Women’s National Team who already qualified for the Olympics with their second place finish at the recent Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The Canadian Men’s National Team was also set to begin its qualification campaign in March but that has been postponed until further notice.

Obviously a big part of what the Canadian team does next depends on the decisions made by the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee. Based on a recent press release by the Olympic organizers it looks like every attempt will be made to postpone the games until 2021 rather than cancel them entirely. This is a similar strategy to the UEFA Euro 2020 organizers who have also said that they will push back their tournament by 12 months into the summer of 2021 as opposed to cancelling it.

What Are the Canadian MLS Doing During The Break?

So with all this time off from playing, what have the Canadian teams in MLS been up to? Luke Wileman from TSN recently checked in with each of the three Canadian teams to get an update.

Toronto FC - Bill Manning, President

Montreal Impact - Kevin Gilmore, President & CEO

Vancouver Whitecaps FC - Mark Pannes, CEO and Axel Shuster, Sporting Director

Canadian Premier League Delays Beginning of Season

On Mar 20 the Canadian Premier League officially postponed the start of the 2020 season indefinitely. This followed an announcement by the CPL on Mar 13 that they would be putting a hold on all pre-season training. More updates on what will happen with the season will be provided as they become available.

Meet The Supporter Groups Hoping For A CPL Franchise

The Canadian Premier League has the ambition to expand to 14-16 teams by 2026 according to league commissioner David Clanachan in an interview posted on their website. Commissioner Clanachan stated, “we’ve always said if we can be between 14 and 16 teams … that’s very doable by 2026.” The run up to the FIFA 2026 World Cup could really help to spark interest in this domestic league.

Mike Miller from the Premier League Podcast recently did a wonderful series where he interviewed supporter groups from around Canada who are trying to raise interest in their communities with the possibility of establishing new CPL franchises.

Mike reviewed 6 possible regions for new franchises and spoke to a representative from each supporter group in each location. Links to the interviews and the supports groups are below.

Kitchener-Waterloo - Adrian Martin, Grand River Union

Greater Vancouver Region - Chris Corrigan, Swanguardians

Mississauga - Adam Ducker, Sauga City Collective

Saskatoon - Jeff Salisbury, The Wheatpool

Greater Toronto Region - Dan Baldwin

Greater Montreal Region - Mike Miller, Metro Soccer

Feeding Your Footie Fix

Are you suffering from footie withdrawl? Well here are a few helpful resources to help you feed your fix. Fingers crossed that we won’t have to wait much longer to see the return of the beautiful game!