Italia Out
Let's Get On With It
CPSL moves closer to kickoff.
by David Bailey
Friday, April 24, 1998 07:58:07 AM
With one month to spare before the first fixture in the CPSL's inaugural season, the infant league has finally settled its tumultuous and confusing membership situation as Commissioner Bill Spiers announced that neither Toronto Italia nor Toronto Supra would be part of the 1998 schedule, leaving the CPSL at eight member clubs.

It was only one month ago that Italia looked bound for league admittance when Italia G.M. Joe Mallozzi released the news that former Toronto Blizzard executive Domenic Materra would be taking over the club from owner Pasquale Fiocolla.  While confirmation of that transaction was never confirmed as to have actually taken place, the latest development forcing Italia's withdrawal is just as intriguing. 

Centennial Park Stadium, home of Toronto Croatia, have apparently stuck a proverbial fly in the ointment by informing the CPSL that Toronto Italia would not be allowed to play their away match vs. Croatia at Centennial Park unless certain alleged debts from the 1995 CNSL season were paid off.  Italia however, insists that this debt is in fact owed by the CNSL, an entity that is currently a non-entity.

With the CPSL being in no position to affect a settlement in the matter, Italia requested a refund of its 1998 league application fee, which was granted by the league, and returns to the soccer limbo in which it has wallowed since its final active season of 1996.

This has to be considered a blow to the league that had been hoping Italia's storied history and reputation would help attendance league-wide as well as attract a large number of home game spectators from the predominantly Italian area of Woodbridge which surrounds their stadium at Rainbow Creek.

Meanwhile, despite a concerted grass roots effort from Toronto's large Portuguese community and media, the eight member clubs unanimously turned thumbs down on Toronto Supra, a club that had expressed its willingness to join the league but never actually submitted an application despite encouragement from the CPSL.

Bill Spears explains, "Personally, I would have liked to see Supra in the league.  We actually recommended to the clubs that we take Supra. They said no, it's much too late.  They'd have to worry about getting additional dates in their stadiums.  They still had concerns about Toronto Italia that had to be settled and  they didn't want to introduce another complications.  Basically, the clubs said no."

In one other minor development, Scarborough Olympic - in the mega-city spirit - was given league permission to alter its name to Toronto Olympic begging the question "will we see a Toronto Brittanic and Toronto Titanic in the near future"?

While the official schedule will not be released until April 29th, it is known that the league will kick-off at the home field of York Region Shooters on May 24th with the other clubs starting their seasons on May 31st.

The league's regular season schedule is structured as a straight forward home and home competition of 14 games while the league cup has the clubs divided into two groups of four again playing a home and home schedule for a guaranteed six matches.  The top two clubs in each group will play cross over semi-finals with the winners playing for the CPSL Cup.

The teams have also decided to play a league play-off at the conclusion of the regular season.  This competition will take place over the Thanksgiving weekend at a neutral ground in a traditional 1st vs. 4th and 2nd vs. 3rd semi-final on the Saturday with the two winners playing the championship final on the Thanksgiving Day Monday.  Centennial Park in Kitchener was suggested as a possible venue for the mini tournament.

When asked about the future possibility of CPSL participation in a "Canadian Open Cup" competition, Commissioner Spiers stated "The A-League presented a trophy to be used for an open cup competition in Canada back in 1996 but we never got to the point of really getting anything organized in terms of what format we would use.  The question was what do we do beyond (the three A-League teams)?  Certainly in Ontario we could put forward one or two teams from our league". 

Regarding other provinces Spiers said "They are strictly senior amateur leagues right now, probably fairly high class and it was suggested that their winners enter this competition as well.  The PCSL in B.C. is a very strong league.  Alberta's major soccer league is a fairly good league.  Quebec has a fairly top league.  The idea was that one team from each of those (leagues) go in with the A-League teams but we never really worked out the exact format.  It's still an item that we're anxious to (proceed with) in the future and certainly the teams in the CPSL would be very anxious to have a chance to play one of (the A-League teams) as well."

So the wheels are finally in motion and with luck the political football can be put aside for the moment and full attention can be paid to the one on the pitch.

Watch this space in future weeks for team profiles, league fixtures and match reports.


"Back to CPSL menu">