The Canadian Premier League (CPL or CanPL, French: Première Ligue Canadienne) is a professional football league in Canada. At the head of the Canadian football league system, it is the country's premier national football league competition. The league consists of seven teams from five out of the ten Canadian provinces. The regular league season lasts from April to October and consists of two separate tournaments: the spring season and the fall season. The season culminates in the CPL championship, which is held between the two winners of the season. The CPL champion makes a place in the CONCACAF league against teams from Central America and the Caribbean. All CPL teams also play in the Canadian Championship against Canadian clubs from other leagues.
The league was officially approved by the Canadian Football Association on May 6, 2017, originally with a soft start date of 2018, which was later deferred to 2019. The focus of the league is on improving national football talent and sports in Canada with several rules in place to ensure this. These include a minimum contingent of Canadian players in team rosters and starting positions, requirements for domestic U21 players and a university design.
The Canadian Premier League, in contrast to the franchise system in Major League Soccer and other North American sports leagues, uses a club-based system with the long-term goal of adding more teams and eventually having a powerful promotion and relegation system within the league most European and South American football league systems. It is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, and plans a second office in Hamilton, Ontario.
The Canadian Premier League season lasts from late April to October. Each team plays 28 games, including 14 at home and 14 away. The league's opening season includes a split-season format that resembles football leagues in Latin America. The winners of the two seasons compete in the two-legged CPL championship.
Clanachan has made several goals to reach promotion and relegation in the Canadian football league system as more and more teams join the league.
The Canadian Premier League teams will also compete in the Canadian Championship against Canadian teams in Major League Soccer, the USL Championship and Tier 3 League Champions to win Canada's place in the CONCACAF Champions League. The two-legged KO format guarantees each team a home game and an away game in the tournament. The 2019 edition will feature CPL teams in the first and second qualifying rounds.
A Canadian Premier League team will play in the extended CONCACAF League against teams from Central America and the Caribbean for one of six seats in the CONCACAF Champions League. As part of the extended format for 2019, the CPL Club will play in the preliminary round, which will be held in July. For the 2019 edition, this slot will be awarded to one of the league's first teams (FC Edmonton, Forge FC or Valor FC) based on their home and away matches in the spring 2019 season. The CPL champion qualifies for CONCACAF for future issues League of the following year.
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