TORONTO — The clock is ticking down to the Canadian Premier League kickoff and commissioner David Clanachan acknowledges there is still plenty to do.
"I will tell you the world started spinning a lot faster on Jan. 1, that's for sure," Clanachan said with a chuckle.
He hopes to have the schedule out in the next week to 10 days, with the last week of April targeted for the start of the inaugural season.
"Obviously we want to turn the first game into a big one," he said without elaborating.
Clanachan says the schedule will feature "something that's different for North America" in crowning a champion.
"It does not include playoffs but I don't want to give it away because it does take the schedule and make it very different and special. Not something that's completely unique. It's a format that is used in other parts of the world."
The seven CPL teams had signed 38 players between them as of Monday afternoon. Clanachan says team roster size will be somewhere between 20 and 23, with a maximum of seven foreign players (which includes Americans).
Come game day, teams will have to start at least six Canadians. That is the only proviso, allowing coaches to make their normal substitutions without concern over citizenship.
Teams are selling 15-game season ticket packages. The league is looking at 14 home and 14 away league games plus at least one Canadian Championship home contest.
Clanachan acknowledges that schedule balance is difficult with seven teams but says the league will do the best it can, loading up on local derby matches to make the numbers work.
The league continues to work on broadcast rights.
Clanachan said the CPL is looking closely at D.C. United, the MLS team which recently announced a multi-year broadcast deal with FloSports to stream its non-nationally broadcast games.
Those matches will stream on FloFC.com, which is dedicated to soccer content. D.C. United season ticket-holders, partners and supporters' group members will receive discounted subscriptions (US$5.99 a month) while others will be charged $8.99 a month.
"No doubt it's a bold move," Clanachan said of the D.C. United decision. "That whole world is changing and we're paying very close attention to it."
Clanachan declined to provide details on team salary caps, other than to say that franchises will operate under both a player and coaching cap. If a player serves as an assistant coach, a small amount of that coaching money will be allowed to flow into the player cap.
He says the CPL will divulge salary cap numbers at a later date.
The league has no plans to use something akin to the MLS designated player, which allows teams to sign a marquee player but only count part of their salary against the cap.
"It doesn't mean that we won't do it in the future, but at this point in time we're not doing it," he said.
The inaugural seven teams are HFX Wanderers FC (Halifax), York 9 FC (north Toronto), Forge FC (Hamilton), Valour FC (Winnipeg), FC Edmonton, Cavalry FC (Calgary) and Pacific FC (Victoria).
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press