Members approved plans for the Canadian Premier League during Canada Soccer’s annual meeting on Saturday.
Ten cities have expressed an interest in taking part in the new league, with Canada Soccer to evaluate candidates in the coming months.
Canada Soccer’s annual meeting also saw Steve Reed elected as the body’s new president. Reed will serve the remaining three years of Victor Montagliani’s four-year term, with the latter having been appointed as president of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) in May 2016.
The announcement of the new league comes after CONCACAF last month confirmed that the US, Mexico and Canada will submit a joint bid to host the 2026 Fifa World Cup. Canada has never hosted the men’s World Cup, but did stage the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
Commenting on the formation of the new league, Reed said: “I would like to thank the Canada Soccer membership for the opportunity as we continue the incredible momentum for the sport of soccer in our country.
“This was an important day for our sport with the unanimous approval of the Canadian Premier League along with Hamilton and Winnipeg as new members of the association and the overwhelming support for the 2026 Fifa World Cup joint bid with USA and Mexico. I look forward to serving the membership and building on the legacy of Victor Montagliani’s leadership of the past five years.”
Canadian broadcaster CBC said Winnipeg Blue Bombers, a franchise in American football league the CFL, has confirmed it is looking into creating a Manitoba-based franchise for the Canadian Premier League, adding that there is also an ownership group in Hamilton interested in starting a team. The Premier League is being targeted for launch in the autumn of 2018.