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Champions League - Is Gilmore Correct?

Montreal President miffed at Toronto FC’s nomination....

Kevin Gilmore feels CF Montreal should represent Canada in the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League.
Photo by SEBASTIEN ST-JEAN/AFP via Getty Images

President Gilmore has expressed his disagreement with the decision to select Toronto FC as Canada’s representative in the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League.

His opinion sounds a little strange to me and I think defies sporting logic.

Kevin argues that as the reigning Canadian champion Montreal should have been the club nominated, despite the fact they lost their crown by not winning the six-game round-robin tournament, a pre-curser qualifying tournament to the 2020 Canadian Championship final.
“The Canadian champion currently is this team,” Gilmore told the Montreal Gazette. “We devalue the Canadian championship by saying the Canadian champion doesn’t get to go this year. To me, it just makes zero sense.”

There are two separate things here. The Canadian Championship is one and being Canada’s representative in the Champions League the other. Two entirely separate issues. It just happens that each (normal) year Canada Soccer nominates the winner of the Voyageurs Cup as its representative in the Champions League, naturally enough.

2020 was anything but normal, and while I don’t completely understand the shelving of the final, it makes perfect sense to -

a) play the 2020 final at a later date, therefore not affecting the integrity of the Canadian Championship; and,

b) nominate the 2020 Canadian Championship finalist with the superior league placing as the country’s representative internationally. This assumes that MLS is a higher graded league than CanPL as deemed by CONCACAF rankings, which I don’t expect anyone would disagree with.

Furthermore, I expect if Montreal had won the round-robin (as they should) and thus qualified for last season’s Canadian Championship final, under the same set of circumstances Canada Soccer would have forwarded the Quebec club as their nomination.

Perhaps where Kevin Gilmore should be focussing his attention is how Montreal managed to blow its chances of retaining the Canadian title: a dreadful giveaway late goal at home to Toronto, when a draw would have been enough for qualification, or even when presented with a second lifeline, they couldn’t manage a draw at struggling Vancouver, after being inexcusably reduced to ten men.

Montreal Impact v Vancouver Whitecaps FC
A red card for Rudy Camacho and penalty to Vancouver which cost Montreal Impact dear in their quest to retain the Canadian Championship.
Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

Toronto FC and Forge FC, the two 2020 finalists have agreed this way forward where Toronto enters the continental competition and the final is played at a later date.

“It’s a boardroom decision as opposed to any decision that gets made on the field,” Gilmore told the Gazette. “At no point did Canada Soccer even consider this. As far as they’re concerned, it was the right decision to make. They’re perfectly comfortable with it. I don’t agree.

“It’s called the Champions League. It’s not called the finalist’s league.”

Perhaps someone should tell Mr Gilmore the CONCACAF Champions League is full of teams every year that are not national champions....

Personally I would not want to see Montreal nominated as Canada’s representatives under the circumstances. Had they won the triangular qualification round-robin, as they should, well then, that’s a different story, and I would have expected to see Montreal represent Canada.

But not as things stand. The process deployed was entirely appropriate and sensible.

What do you fans think? Please take our poll.


Who should have represented Canada in the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League?

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    Agree with Kevin Gilmore - The 2019 Canadian Champions who were eliminated from the 2020 Canadian Championship (Montreal Impact)
    (25 votes)
  • 55%
    Disagree with Kevin Gilmore - The 2020 Canadian Championship finalists (competition final suspended due to Covid restrictions) with the higher league position (Toronto FC)
    (31 votes)
56 votes total Vote Now

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