BC Soccer dispute could sideline thousands of youth players
BC Soccer should be focused on the provincial championships, which kick off Thursday for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Instead, most people involved in the sport are talking about a power struggle that could lead to the suspension of all tournaments, games and even practices.
"Unfortunately right now, BC Soccer is currently not following a directive of Canada Soccer, our governing body, and this may lead to sanctioning from Canada Soccer to BC Soccer,” said BC Soccer’s executive director Jason Elligott in a pre-recorded video message to members.
“In simple terms, the directive is to change BC Soccer's voting structure to be more equitable."
Despite BC Soccer having about 15,000 adult members and approximately 95,000 youth members, voting power is split 50-50 between the two groups.
Canada Soccer, the federal governing body that oversees provincial and territorial organizations, wants the split to better reflect the number of players in each category.
According to BC Soccer, British Columbia is the only province or territory that is not in compliance with the directive.
"This is not an ask, this is a mandate. And so we need to be in a position to somehow make this change,” BC Soccer president Gayle Statton said in the video to members.
Changes to BC Soccer bylaws require two-thirds majority support from the membership.
A June 1 vote on changing the voting structure did not achieve that majority.
According to Statton, it is the adult league members who do not support the change.
None of the adult league organizers contacted by CTV News would agree to speak on the record about the stalemate.
BC Soccer also declined an interview.
While the adults behind the scenes try to negotiate a resolution ahead of a November deadline imposed by Canada Soccer before it may take punitive action, up to and including the suspension of all sanctioned soccer activities in B.C., it is the youth players caught in the middle who stand to suffer the most through no fault of their own.