I don’t know, dear readers, if you are a “good news first”, or a “get the bad news out of the way” kind of crowd. So, I’ll just guess that you have enough negativity in your lives and jump to the good stuff.
The CPL has announced some impressive increases in player compensation. According to the CPL media release, the league office recommended the changes and they were unanimously approved by the Board of Governors. So, what are the changes? Let’s dive in:
- Minimum Salary increased by 36% to $30,000
- Separated the Technical Staff cap from the Player Cap
- Increase in Player Maximum cap of $175,000 to $1.125 million which is up 15% from 2022
- Under 21 Cap relief – first $200,000 spent is at 50% cap hit
Sweet. So, this is great for the players, and no one is going to take a cynical perspective here, right? Well, welcome my darker half, couch potato and amateur rapper – Cynikal K, to join me as we talk about the changes in an interview format that happened completely within my own head.
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Me: So, lots to love here. The cap rising is a huge plus. To be expected, but as the game grows, so must the player compensation if we are going to attract the best players possible at this level. And despite attendance being down, and money still being an issue, the league has put the players first. Can’t beat this news.
CK: Sure. Money is a big problem for the CPL/CSB. Didn’t they just announce CIBC as the major sponsor for the league, on the tails of that ol’ microbrew, what’s it called again, oh yeah, Carlsberg?! They ain’t hurting, believe me.
Me: Well, that’s not fair. We haven’t seen the books. There is no way to know how much the owners have had to absorb in losses. I mean the pandemic alone…
CK: Yeah, that’s true. If only there was a way to get that transparency, I don’t know, like bargaining a Collective Agreement with the players association.
Me: Fair point, but these things take time, the league is only going into its fifth year.
CK: Yeah, good point. USL League 1 (USA Div 3) started the same year. Did I mention they just signed their first Collective Agreement? No? Well, they did. And it is based largely on the USL Championship’s Collective Agreement (USA Division 2), signed on September 29th, 2021. But I’m sure that had no impact on CPL/CSB sweetening the pot. BTW, for 2023 the maximum benefit spend for USL C is $1,970,000 USD/team. Just sayin’.
Me: Hmm, ok, but still, it is a positive to be growing, and the minimum salary was a big issue in the early days of the CPL as guys were leaving to become arborists. So, increasing it by 36% is massive for the players. You can’t argue that!
CK: No, I can’t, 36% is huge. But $30,000 isn’t. How small were those minimum payouts previously? Must be part of the CSB’s commitment to gender pay equity. So they decided not to go over, or even to match the NWSL minimum pay structure. Good for them.
Me: Be nice. This is a start-up league. They are trying. Growth must be slow and sustainable; we have seen prior leagues fail here. Got to give them time to get it right.
CK: Yeah, I guess. I’ll calm down.
Me: Good. Because there is a new Commissioner on the scene, and these changes seem to be all under his watch. Surely there is a lot of hope right now?
Me: This is you being nice?
Me: Ok, finally, the cap relief for under 21’s is an unassailable move. This will ensure that teams keep giving young men chances in a professional environment.
CK: Sure, now Ottawa can sign twice as many U 21s as before and play them all on the last day of the year to make the cut!
Me: Ok, that is cynical, even for you. Well, I choose to stay positive. Way to go CPL, keep growing!
CK: And try to keep pace with the CSB. That’s where the money’s at! Wait, we didn’t chat about the Women’s League on the horizon, Rob Friend’s attempt to take over as league benefactor from Bob Young, or CIBC’s plans to get the most out of their marketing buck while the games are only on little-known soccer-specific streaming sites!
Me: Goodbye, Cynical K. Save something for another day.
CK: Wait, how about my take on the Technical Staff compensation had to be separated for Rob Friend to be able to afford his new coach, who would be unwilling to take a hometown discount to coach?
Me: SSShhhhh! Until next time my small niche of Canadian Premier League sarcasm fans, this is Kevin Anderson saying, Good Night!
Writer’s note: Ok, So I may have gone a bit overboard, but as I head into the World Cup, I am trying to divest myself of all the cynicism I can so I can enjoy the game as apolitically as possible (impossible for me, but a couple of weeks of mostly escapism would be nice). Still love the CPL. Just feel that I love it enough to let it know when it has spinach in its teeth.
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