By STEVEN SANDOR
Toronto FC will get the chance to defend its Nutrilite Canadian Championship crown in 2010, even if the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps have no leagues of their own in which to play.
The Canadian Soccer Association confirmed this week that the three-team championship still is slated to go ahead as it has the past two seasons, despite rumours to the contrary.
The CSA made the decision to sanction Montreal and Vancouver in December, meaning that they still can compete for a national championship.
Both Montreal and Vancouver are in limbo as the United States Soccer Federation refused to sanction the North American Soccer League, a new circuit formed by rebel owners from the United Soccer Leagues. The USL's first division also was rejected. The leagues have until some time this week to strike an 11th-hour kiss-and-makeup deal that would satisfy the U.S. authorities.
With only two teams involved, the CSA already had stated that it would not take a stance on the situation between the leagues until its American counterpart had made its decision.
Montreal is bidding to join Major League Soccer, while Vancouver is set to join in 2011.
"As long as they (Montreal and Vancouver) are in good standing they are good to play in the tournament," CSA spokesman Richard Scott said. "It's a go."
Vancouver, as the Whitecaps will play in MLS soon, should have some sort of team that can compete for the Canadian crown. But, Montreal, with no guarantees of MLS membership in the future, may not have a team to field if there is no league in place.