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Former Toronto mayor, fed up, is giving away his TFC season tickets

Portrait of former Toronto mayor David Miller at home in Toronto

Charla Jones/The Globe and Mail

Former mayor and rabid Toronto FC supporter David Miller is giving away his season tickets, complaining about the team's management and the prospect of having to share a stadium with the Argonauts.

In a impassioned public letter posted Wednesday on his Facebook account, Mr. Miller expressed concerns about the future of the team and the possibility that the natural-grass field at BMO Stadium might be removed to accommodate the Canadian Football League team.

"I am so frustrated with the latest management missteps that I am returning the remainder of my season tickets to you: it is the only way I can emphasize how serious the situation is for those of us who support TFC. Please donate them to an appropriate cause," Mr. Miller wrote.

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"There once was magic at BMO Field. The latest reshuffle has made the possibility of that magic returning almost certainly disappear."

The letter was released a week after Tim Leiweke, CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Toronto FC, said in a conference call that renovation of BMO is being considered to accommodate football.

The CFL's Argonauts now have a lease at Rogers Centre but are looking for a new home since the Blue Jays, who also play there and are owned by Rogers Media, are planning to switch to natural grass.

"End the speculation about the Argonauts CFL team coming to BMO. Mr. Leiweke's suggestion that they might, and the necessary implication that they would play on artificial turf, was the wrong thing to say, at this time in particular," Mr. Miller wrote.

"You risk losing the most committed supporters of TFC if the venue is changed to accommodate Canadian football."

The team has a 2013 record of four wins, 13 losses and 10 ties and sits in the penultimate slot in the eastern conference standings of the MLS.

In his letter, Mr. Miller complained that the team had failed to provide stable management and to cultivate the fans' fervour. "This is amply demonstrated by the fact that it is now necessary to have someone sing the national anthem, when previously supporters sang O Canada themselves, unaided," he said.

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While he was mayor, Mr. Miller played a key role in ushering professional soccer to the city. Back in 2005, when MLSE was in negotiations to bring a Major League Soccer expansion franchise to Canada, Mr. Miller pushed city council to approve and invest into a new stadium at Exhibition Place which became BMO Field.

Mr. Miller has often appeared in public wearing the team jersey, either as a fan in the stands or, at the 2009 Pride parade, when he showed up with a pink version of the team shirt, initially unveiled in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Toronto FC responded to Miller through a Tweet from the clubs official Twitter account. "Tx for the feedback Mr. Miller. We look forward to setting up a time for u to discuss w/Tim Leiweke in person," the Tweet read.

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About the Author
National reporter

Tu Thanh Ha is based in Toronto and writes frequently about judicial, political and security issues. He spent 12 years as a correspondent for the Globe and Mail in Montreal, reporting on Quebec politics, organized crime, terror suspects, space flights and native issues. More


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