CPL awards expansion team to Ottawa for 2020 season


(Aaron Lynett/CP)

OTTAWA — Spanish soccer giant Club Atletico de Madrid has purchased an expansion team for Ottawa in the Canadian Premier League.

The Ottawa side will become the professional league’s eighth team when the CPL’s second season begins in April.

The club will play at TD Place, also home of the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks.

Former Redblacks president Jeff Hunt, also a one-time owner of the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67’s, will be a strategical partner.

The national capital’s market opened for soccer late last year when the Ottawa Fury suspended operations following a prolonged sanctioning battle.

The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (also Redblacks owners) made the decision to pull the plug on the Fury when it couldn’t get permission to play in the United Soccer League in 2020.

Ottawa will join CPL teams in Langford, B.C., Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Toronto and Halifax.

Atletico de Madrid, founded in 1903, has won 10 La Liga titles. The club reached the UEFA Champions League final in 2014 and 2016.

"We are delighted to be part of such an exciting project in an amazing country," Atletico de Madrid CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin said in a statement.

"We would like to bring our expertise to a very strong and structured league and will work together with the CPL and the rest of the clubs to contribute to the growth of Canadian soccer. We want Ottawa soccer fans to be able to feel proud of belonging to the Atletico de Madrid family so we can start sharing our values with them."

CPL commissioner David Clanachan was happy with the news.

"We are thrilled to welcome Ottawa as the Canadian Premier League’s eighth club and Club Atletico de Madrid as our newest owners of the Ottawa club," Clanachan said in a statement. "We are very excited to launch the club with one of the world’s most iconic and successful soccer brands and look forward to them taking to the pitch for the 2020 CPL season."


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