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My open cup idea. Thoughts?

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This is long and rambling but if you can make it through tell me what you think. Should I make it a little more formal and start harassing Andy Sharpe and the other powers that be?


Impact Supporter,

I tried to email you through the Voyageurs site but I guess it didn't work. My idea has never been put to paper so please excuse me if this is a little rambling and disorganized. The idea is ambitious which is both an asset and a downside and ties into a larger three part plan I have for organizing a proper national Div. 1 league.

To start with, the focus of my National Open Cup idea is on creating a viable National Cup Final Weekend played in one host city in October every year. This would be roughly equivalent to Grey Cup Week or the Brier (sp?) curilng tournament. The potential host cities would bid on the event in competition with each other for the right to stage the finals of the tournament. The reasons for focusing on a Finals Weekend tournament are threefold. First, it would make it easier to get television coverage since the semi's, final, and thirdplace match would all be held in one place over a short period of time. Second, it would be more attractive to corporate sponsors since they would gain exposure in a select city over a whole weekend (plus the time that the tournament is advertised). Finally it would create more of an event feel (four teams in four games over three days) in the host city that would help facilitate local media coverage and citizen interest. This is important because due to the geography of our country we don't have much of a travelling supporters culture... even the most ardent Whitecaps supporter is unlikely to make it to Montreal or T.O. for a match. Therefore, for the Finals to be successful they will need the active support of the host city and its citizens. They, much more than the fans of the teams in the finals, are likely to be the ones in the stands.

As you have probably inferred from my above statements the tournament would consist of four teams. What are these teams? Well that ties into my idea for 3 regional qualifying zones: West (Manitoba West), Ontario, and Quebec/Atlantic. One team from each zone would qualify along with an additional team from the region of the host city. As the right to host the tournament would rotate between the three regions no particular region would gain any advantage over any other in the long run. By having two teams from the host region it will create more local interest and the potential of an all local final. Since fans of the clubs from the host region are much more likely to travel to the tournament this can only be an advantage for organizers seeking to promote the Finals.

To make this three region scheme viable would require the establishment of three regional qualifying authorities above the provincial soccer federations (with the possible exception of the OSA though I'd argue that even here a body delegated responsiblity by the CSA would be preferable). These authoriteis would be responsible for organizing the tournament to determine the qualifier from their region. Once again due to the geography of our country each tournament could be organized a little diffently. They would all follow these same rules however:

-all rounds are single game elimination matchs. Standard FIFA rules apply with two fifteen minute extra time periods followed by penalties due break ties. If you lose you're out.

-no replays. Personally I love relays but our country is too big and they add too much time to be viable. Everything gets decided on one day for the teams involved and home teams can just count themselves lucky.

-no team may be seeded in such a way that it would play less than three matchs and qualify. That means that you have to win five matches (at least) to win the Cup. This is a very reasonable number that would neither make the tournament too arduous for the pro (semi-pro) teams nor seem too easy to win. For comparisons sake EPL and Div.1 teams must win 6 matches to win the F.A. Cup.

-all draws would be randomly done within the structure of the tournament organized by the regional authority after the results of the previous round had been completed. Half the fun of a cup is finding out who you'll play in the next round once you've secured advancement.

-players who play a match for one team in the cup can not play or any other team. A basic cup-tied requirement to prevent advancing teams from loading up on talent from those already eliminated.

-in the host region the two finalists SHALL NOT PLAY EACH OTHER in any sort of "regional finals" match before or after the Finals. Furthermore, no trophy shall be awared to any of the regional finalists simply for quilfying for the finals. Teams are playing for qualification to the National Cup Finals and this shoud not be diminished in any way by the granting of prizes other than the National Cup.

Now due to the vast differences in geography between the three qualifying regions the tournament would have to be organized differently in each region. In geographically condensed Ontario for instance province-wide rounds for amateur senior teams could get down to three teams who then would be drawn in with the (currently) 11 CSPL teams (which is the recognized Div.2 in Ontario/Canada right now). The seven winners from this round would be drawn in with the Lynx (Div. 1) to provide a final eight for the qualifiers. Obviously in years where Ontario was hosting the Lynx would have to be dropped in in the round of 16 to meet the requirement of playing at least three games to qualify.

In a much larger region such as the West it would obviously be necessary to hold playdowns for the senior amateur teams in each province. In fact I would suggest that each province (Man, Sask, Alb, and BC) be granted 2 spots in the final eight which would be the first round open to teams playing each other from different provinces. Alternatley since neither Manitoba or Saskatchewan has any Div.1 or 2 teams (to my knowledge) possibley they would be granted only one spot each while Alberta and B.C. both get three. This would allow both Alberta A-League teams into the last eight every year along with one provincial amateur representative; for BC it would be the Whitecaps, one PCSL team and one senior am team. The point is that as the number of Div. 1 and 2 teams in each region fluctuates and the host region rotates the orgainzing commitees will have to be flexible. As long as they follow the points above however the legitimacy of the competition will not be comprimised.

I believe that the Finals tournament should be held in late October. This is tied to two ideas. One: I want the tournament to be the last crescendo of a Canadian domestic season that I envision extending from May to October (the viable soccer playing months throughout most of the country). Two: It would not conflict with the existing A-League schedule (or the CPSL most likely). If I had my givens and druthers I would suggest making the tournament a regular national fixture on the the last weekend of the month. With the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday weekend falling in the middle of the month however it would seem ridiculous not to take advanatage of the oppurtunity to schedule the Finals on that weekend. Presuming the tournament is held then it could be organized in this manner:

-All qualifying teams would be determined at least two weeks in advance; preferably a month (though this is less possible with a Thanksgiving weekend date). Giving the organizing committee as much time as possible to promote the Finals and the teams that will be competing is a key element that could allow for success.

-At some point previously the draw would have been held for the Final Four. Optimally this could be done live on SoccerCentral on a Saturday afternoon at the end of Sept. or start of Oct. To maintain excitement obviously the draw should be handled in a draw home team semi-1, then home team semi-2 and finally away team semi-1 manner (which obviously leaves the remaining team as away team semi-2).

-The two semifinals would be held Saturday afternoon and in the early evening of the same day. I'm wrestling with the idea of making them back-to-back. On the one hand it would be easier to sell to local fans as a doubleheader but I don't like the idea of the stadium being half full for the first match.

-The third place game (for medals but no trophy) would be held on Sunday afternoon.

-Final on Monday afternoon or evening depending on the preference of the organizing commitee. Regardless kickoff should not be before 12pm Pacific Time regardless of where the tournament is being held. The winner has the exclusive right to use the phrase "Canadian National Soccer Champions" until the next years final (no Brampton Hitmen declaring themselves champions), gains the offer of entry into the CONCACAAF Champions Cup which I presume would exist for a Canadian champion and all teams get some share of the prize purse (50% winner, 25% finalist, 15% third, 10% fourth?).

Fans of a given team would be able to purchase passes that would grant them admission to the semi's as well as either the third place game or the final depending on how their team does and local fans could either buy full weekend or single game tickets.

That's about the whole of my idea for the establishment of a national open cup. Stage 2 of my plan sees the regional authorties establish Div. 2 leagues (am and semi-pro) in each of their region and Stage 3 (which is the least likely) sees the establishment of a national Div.1. I'll hold off on expading on those parts since you were really only interested in my plan for a cup.

Key Positives:

-open to any senior team in the country outside of the territories.

-focus on one big finals weekend will be an easier sell to sponsors and locals and focus media attention on the event.


-the Finals would be held well after the conclusion of the A-League seaoson... would A-League teams be able, or find it worth it, to keep their teams together for the tournament if they qualify?

-what about the women? My plan makes no allowance for them. I don't want to suggest that it's a zero sum game but I'm honestly scared that trying to set up a women's and men's tournament at the same time will be too much. Any fan of soccer in this country can see the struggles we have but just ignoring the women does seem rather unfair.

What will make it work:

-a strong and active CSA promoting the tournament and getting the necessary groups on side.

-TV coverage of the whole finals weekend. Even if the CSA has to pay for it at first this would be a worthwhile investment. Hopefully over time this could turn into enough of an event that the CSA could actually make a profit off of selling the TV rights.

-corporate sponsorship. This is where the CSA should work the hardest. Corporate money would provide the initial lifeblood of the tournament until it grows in stature at which point it would only become a more attractive sponsorship oppurunity. My only stipulation is that the actual cup itself never be renamed for the major sponsor (ala the Carling [League] Cup in England). If the sponsor wants to tack their name on the front (ie. the CIBC National Cup Finals Weekend) that's fine - in fact it should be encouraged as far as I'm concerned.

-the support of the existing A-League franchises.

-PRIZE MONEY!!! This is where the CSA and corporate sponsors have to go to bat... prize money is what will ultimately lure in the A-League teams since most are operated on small budgets and could use the cash and prestige might not be enough to encourage them to participate.

So, what do you think?


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Mike I love these ideas, but what really has me upset is that the CSA have not taken any of the Open-Cup concept very seriously. At first it appeared that the CSA will spear-head the concept of the Open-Cup (with promises from Kevan Pipe in the past), but it now appears that the CSA have removed themselves from the whole concept all together. Now it appears that the fans have taken over the idea of the Open-Cup concept with no help coming from the CSA. This really sucks. The CSA have shown no real leadership. If they really cared they could have at least motivated the provincial associations towards this direction and worked together with the fans and the provincial leagues.

Furthermore, Kevan Pipe should be fired for broken promises. Pipe stood before the press over 2 years ago, and said (read my lips) the CSA will work towards building an Open-Cup concept. Unfortunately for the fans, we have not yet seen this promise from the CSA.

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I think you have some good points. It sounds like you were using New Zealand's Chatham Cup - with three regions as a model for the Canada Open Cup.

What I also would agree with is regional playdowns they are most cost efficient than having ten teams fly to one location for a National Amateur Championship. The teams are split into groupings anyway.

I had just recently developd my idea for a Canada Open Cup.

What I was thinking of is 4 regional derbies.

Atlantic(NS vs NB; Nfld vs PEI)

Central(Ont vs Que)

Praries(Man vs Sask)

Pacific(Alb vs BC)

On the amateur side the provincial league winners play off against the provincial cup chmapions. After the neighboring provinces play off against each other to determine a regional winner.

On the pro side ther would be regional playdowns to determine a pro winner for each region

BC - Whitecaps, Okanagon, Victoria, and Fraser Valley

Praries - Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg,

Central - London, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal,Quebec City

Atlantic - NB, NS, PEI, Nfld

Final 8 would be a ''pro-am'' competition:

Atlantic amateur vs. Atlantic pro

Central amateur vs. Central pro

Praries amateur vs. Praries pro

Pacific amateur vs Pacific pro

Final 4:

Pacific champion vs Praries champion for a western champion

Central champion vs Atlantic champion for a eastern champion


Eastern Champion vs western champion

Re: plan for organizing a Div. 1 national league:

i just got around to an idea for a 3 division Canaidan League

Div 3 = all provincial leagues

Div 2 = CPSL 6 regions : pacific(BC), Praries(Alb and Sask), Gateway(Man and N. Ontario), Ontario, East Ontario and Quebec, Atlantic

Div 1 = East, West

This could be one idea in you three part plan for organizing a national league for Canada(What was your plan?)

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