SOCCER HIT HARD WHILE CSL WAITS
PICTURE: The Belarusian Premier League was going full tilt last week and will be at it again this coming weekend. All top flight leagues in Europe and most leagues world-wide are wisely at a standstill and Canada is no exception. The Canadian Soccer League is holding on to its tentative end of May kickoff.
While providing an update to the Canadian Soccer League 2020 season with a tentative schedule to kickoff at the end of May, the league pays tribute to a Toronto area coach who died from coronavirus on April 2.
Toni Alati, 49, was a popular coach with the Woodbridge Soccer Club and was a true Toronto FC fan. But more than that, he loved baseball, hockey and sports in general.
Alati was heavily involved in local community affairs with the Ratepayers Association and often a voice for Woodbridge at Vaughan council meetings where he brought attention to the preservation of the natural environment in Woodbridge and insisted on careful consideration of condo development in the area.
“Woodbridge Strikers is a great community soccer organization and it is that way due to the hard work and enormous dedication of people like Toni Alati, a very popular figure in the region just north of Toronto. We at the CSL send our heartfelt regrets to his family and his many friends. Toni is certainly going to be missed,” said Dragan Bakoc, president of the Canadian Soccer League.
Toni, 49, leaves his wife Agnese and daughter Arianna (a local soccer player), and an extended family.
Several others in the world soccer community have died after contracting the coronavirus, including the mother of English Premier League Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola. She sadly passed away at the age of 82. Dolors Sala Corrio died in Manresa, Barcelona. Former Real Madrid president Lorenzo Sanz died Saturday from the new coronavirus He was 76.
With suggestions of the coronavirus leveling off later in April, the CSL May 29 kickoff date, while tentative and with dependency on community decisions outside of the league’s control, is still considered realistic as long as the pandemic peaks and flattens out during the next 2 – 3 weeks. Games may have to be played without any public attendance.
Several CSL teams with rosters that include players from abroad are affected by the travel restrictions now in place. Certain teams have players still in Canada on a temporary resident visa, while other players under contract with CSL clubs and expected to return to Canada for the new season, as well as new players, continue to experience uncertainty with travel plans. Most CSL teams do have strong rosters, however, that include domestic players available to step in if needed.
Toronto FC president Bill Manning has expressed his optimism that there will be a Major League Soccer season despite being put on hold after teams played just two games of a schedule that has more games than ever before following the addition of expansion teams Inter Miami CF and Nashville FC. MLS now has 26 teams.
The Canadian Premier League, which was scheduled to kick off its new season on April 11, is now on in a holding position for a decision to resume its games based on the progress necessary to reduce the spread of the virus.
League 1 in Ontario and the Premiere Ligue de soccer du Quebec have both taken a position that kickoff for the 2020 season is suspended indefinitely following the suspension of all soccer matches in Canada under the governance of Canada Soccer.
The English Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, the Budesliga in Germany and most top flight soccer leagues throughout the world have suspended schedules indefinitely. There is an exception with the Belarusian Premier League which is playing and enjoying its global attention in doing so, broadcasting its matches to 10 countries and can be streamed live in Canada.
PICTURE: It was on Saturday, October 12, 2019 at the Ontario Soccer Centre ground that 2018 CSL champions FC Vorkuta was the first team to be eliminated from the 2019 post-season playoffs. It was a shock defeat by Kingsman SC, an expansion team that squeaked into the playoffs after finishing eighth of ten in the […]
It was near the end of April 1998 when Gerard Houllier arrived in Toronto to be part of a 3-day coaching session, giving priority with the visit to help Canada become a world contender in soccer. It was a surprising visit given that Houllier was one of the busiest soccer administrators in the world at […]