Some parents feel weight rules in little league football unfair to bigger players
Parents are questioning some policies in Quebec's little league football -- rules that govern age and weight categories, which they say are unfair to some children through no fault of their own.
If your child plays little league football and he's larger than average for his age, chances are the league makes him wear a helmet that has a big X on it.
It means he can only play on the offensive line, and can't tackle or can't run with the ball or kick it.
The X allows the referees to keep an eye on him.
Officials say it's done for the safety of smaller players on the field.
Kyliam Bagordo says it's a serious obstacle as he'd rather play defence than on the O-line.
“Well I don't think it's fair for others and me,” the 10-year-old said. “I would love to play on the defence and I think other players would, too. “
Football Quebec's rule book states that Bagordo's weight shouldn't exceed 61 kilograms in his age group.
He’s about to enter puberty at 65 kg..
He’s growing fast and his father, who coaches the team and runs the league, says the rules unfairly target his son and at least 10 per cent of the players who fall outside the norms.
“To identify a kid to make him feel bad, to victimize him or create a prejudice because of his weight we know this has a psychological impact growing up it doesn't affect just little girls. It affects little boys as well,” he said
Ten-year-old Nathan Veilleux of the St-Lazare Stallions quit football rather than accept the weight rules, according to his mother.
“He's always been the biggest, so, at school, he's dealt with bullying,” said Alexandra Veilleux. “Being part of this team he's made friends, he's included. But that X is putting him out again.”
The weight rules are dropped when the players reach Bantam level at age 15.
Football Quebec says it's only applying rules voted on by little league volunteers, who argue it protects smaller players.
It's an argument Bagordo says ignores the reality of football.
“Football is not a participative sport," said Veilleux. "It's not for everyone; it's a contact sport. Rugby doesn't have a weight limit. It's age category. They don't even have equipment."
Bagordo said he plans to fight the rules in order to change them even if parents of smaller players are worried it might force their children out of the game.