CPL announces tweaks to roster rules ahead of 2023 season
Ahead of the start of the 2023 Canadian Premier League season on April 15th, the league recently announced some key tweaks to their roster rules, as they look to increase competition ahead of their 5th season.
Namely, the big change is surrounding the international player rule, which was recently amended to encourage the acquisition of higher-upside international players, while also further incentivizing teams to play more Canadian players.
Before, the old rule stated that clubs could have a maximum of seven internationals on their roster, of which a maximum of five could start any given game.
Now, both of those rules remain, but the first rule has been tweaked so that teams must allocate at least 50% of their international spots to internationals who are U23 (for the 2023 season, that’s those born on January 1st, 2000 or later). Furthermore, if a club is to use all seven spots, the seventh spot must be reserved for a U21 player (born January 1st, 2002, or later).
That is big news for Canadian players, especially those who are 24 and older, as these new rules mean that there will only be room for 24 internationals over the age of 23 across the CPL, raising the value of those Canadians over 24 to teams.
Plus, it’ll encourage more sales of international players, as the introduction of these age caps will hopefully lead to more signings like that of Alejandro Díaz, who was sold from Pacific FC to Norway’s Sogndal after three productive seasons in the CPL, where he signed as a 24-year-old.
Those changes have already been reflected across the league this offseason, as every team except Forge has brought in at least one U23 international so far, with clubs such as FC Utrecht, Le Havre and Puebla being represented among those moves. Through that, it is hoped that those players can increase the calibre of the league, a huge benefit from Canadians in the circuit, as well as potentially be sold elsewhere, which would be of benefit to the CPL’s global reputation.
(Important note: all signings are designated as U23 across the length of their deals, so if they sign when they’re 22, they’ll remain U23 even if they turn 24 in the 3rd year of their contract).
Otherwise, the league also announced some tweaks to the Salary Cap, increasing the minimum outlay that a team must spend on player salaries from $650 000 to $750 000, and the maximum from $850 000 to $1 025 000. Otherwise, they also raised the minimum that a team must spend on their technical staff from $350 000 to $425 000, while keeping the maximum at $550 000.
Same as in 2022, teams can also receive savings of 50% for all U21 salaries, up to a maximum of $100 000 (i.e., if a team spends $200 000 on U21 salaries, it’ll only cost $100 000 on the salary cap).
Lastly, the league also confirmed the dates for the Canadian transfer windows. Window #1 is currently open until April 24th, nine days after the season opener, having opened on January 31st of this year, while window #2 will begin on July 5th, and will last until August 2nd.
From there, everyone’s rosters will freeze on September 1st, after which teams can only release players, with the lone exception being for the league’s two extreme hardship categories.
The 2023 CPL season will kick off with a tripleheader on April 15th, with Atlético Ottawa hosting the Halifax Wanderers, Forge hosting Cavalry and Pacific FC hosting expansion side Vancouver FC, all live on OneSoccer.
You can find the full list of CPL rules and regulations here.