Ottawa Fury sanctioned to play in USL in 2019
Decision still subject to approval by FIFA
Ottawa Fury FC will be allowed to remain in the United Soccer League for the 2019 season after an about-face by the agency that governs soccer in North America.
The local soccer club's future had been thrown into doubt when governing body CONCACAF told the Canadian Soccer Association it would not sanction Ottawa playing in the U.S.-dominated USL in 2019.
The refusal to sanction the club appeared to be tied to the expected launch of the Canadian Premier League in April 2019. Ottawa had widely expected to be home to the league's eighth team.
CONCACAF had argued that international rules only allow clubs to play in another association's territory under "exceptional circumstances" — and such circumstances did not exist in Fury FC's case.
Team to 'accelerate preparations'
Fury FC was prepared to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to have CONCACAF's ruling overturned, but the club revealed in a statement Friday that CONCACAF would sanction the club for 2019 after all.
Mark Goudie, president of the ownership group that oversees Fury FC, said in that statement that they would now "accelerate preparations" for the upcoming USL season.
"Too much negative energy has already been expended on this. I hope that we ... can now get back to supporting Canadian soccer and each other, regardless of what level or pitch we play on or badge we wear," Goudie said.
The club did not give any reason for CONCACAF's reversal. The decision is still subject to approval by FIFA, soccer's international governing body.