January 13th, 2012--Business of Soccer a League Priority Urges CSL Team Owner (from CSL website)

Tony De Thomasis urges greater attention to the business side of the CSL
The CSL is turning its attention to the business of soccer, which is expected to be a major point of focus leading to the upcoming 2012 season 
and beyond. Financial strength will be given greater consideration in the league’s future development and the role the league will play 
as a significant member of the Canadian soccer community.

The league administration and the member clubs are in general agreement that CSL games are attractive to watch, having reached a good skill level 
over the years, but the business side has not kept pace and has some catching up to do.

Tony De Thomasis, owner of the CSL’s York Region Shooters, is one expressing his views on the subject. “ We have a great soccer history and soccer 
we are good at, but we must now give more thought to the business side of the league,” says De Thomasis, a successful businessman in the financial 
and investments sector who believes that a sound financial base with good, experienced ownership, will take the league much beyond what it has 
achieved so far.

“Perhaps it’s just the way the earlier clubs looked at professional soccer, but today all pro clubs must see that a stable, strong future is based 
on firm business principles and business skills.  At this level, it’s no longer a hobby, no longer just what takes place on the field of play,” 
said De Thomasis.

As a league, the CSL is experiencing unprecedented attention and interest from home and overseas. And for good reason. The increasing number 
of enquiries suggest Canada is certainly the place to be for talented individual foreign players unable to break into professional soccer in their 
own country, while here at home the CSL is receiving enquiries from community teams and groups with a desire to move up to the higher level 
semi-professional game

In the 2011 season, the CSL had 17 clubs in membership and fielded 14 teams in each of its first and second divisions and with last year’s member 
clubs committed to return for the upcoming 2012 campaign, it’s clear the top division may well be a bulky minimum 17 teams.

In a league known for its good play, it’s not surprising that during the past three seasons, no less than 27 players with CSL teams moved to higher 
level clubs overseas and 42 were selected for one or more of the national teams of their country – including Canada.

But the CSL administration and the member clubs are giving more attention and thought to the business side of the CSL and what this will mean for 
the future of a league that was formed back in 1926 and has faithfully maintained its Canadian identity since that time. 

De Thomasis, a strong proponent of interfacing youth players with professional soccer to accelerate a player’s development, feels the CSL and 
its forerunner leagues played very good soccer, but have been short on vision when it came to building a successful league in the modern game. 

It’s also generally agreed that a stronger CSL will contribute meaningfully to a stronger professional soccer structure for Canada, which is bound 
to help the Canadian national teams compete more favourably in world competition. 

Canadian standards for professional soccer written in 1996 have been reviewed recently by the national governing body CSA and a new base line 
is now being set for the CSL and its teams. The CSL and the Canadian Soccer Association are presently discussing these revised standards, some 
media reporting of which has lacked accuracy, including the tone of the discussions taking place and suggested course of action by the CSA 
if the new standards cannot be met. 

Pino Jazbec, the CSL league administrator, is confident the league will meet the CSA’s necessary requirements for professional soccer, but makes 
a point that a few CSL clubs for the first time in their history are facing some financial standards that translate into higher cost.  Jazbec says, 
however, “Given a little time, this is something the league and the clubs will come to terms with, while at the same time from a business perspective 
we will position ourselves to more easily adjust to such changes in the future.” 

The CSL will release its 2012 league formation during February-March for a six-month long campaign beginning the first week of May through to the 
end of October.
2011 Canadian Soccer League  

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