Home Canadian Soccer The Association CSL finally goes public: Says it still has CSA sanction

CSL finally goes public: Says it still has CSA sanction


The Canadian Soccer League says that it is still sanctioned by the Canadian Soccer Association.

The CSL office issued a press release on Groundhog Day. The first four paragraphs are reprinted here.

“The Canadian Soccer League is still sanctioned by the Canadian Soccer Association and there has been no suggestion that the CSA is severing ties with the CSL.

“The national governing body told the CSL recently it is considering a new professional soccer structure that, if adopted, will accommodate professional leagues in Canada.

“The proposed change follows the CSA’s consideration of the James Easton Report following a study of the viability of Division II professional soccer in Canada. A change of the professional soccer structure and a proposed change of governance for the CSL has nothing to do with the alleged match fixing of a CSL game played at Trois-Rivieres, Quebec on September 12, 2009 reported in a German court in 2010, or a recent Interpol conference in New York attended by the CSA and the CSL, with soccer officials from FIFA and CONCACAF.

“Vincent Ursini, president of the CSL, who attended the Interpol conference for his league, said the CSA has expressed to him that it is important for the CSL to continue its legacy of 85 years in soccer. Ursini said on Thursday: ‘The CSL will continue to co-operate and work with the CSA and OSA towards a new structure aimed at the advancement of professional soccer in Canada.’”

On Jan. 31, CBC’s Ben Rycroft reported that his sources had revealed that the CSA had cut the CSL’s sanction. Writing as someone from within the journalism business, there’s no reason to douby Rycroft’s credibility — he’s been working on the match-fixing story for months. You can read the CBC report HERE.

And, it needs to be made clear, that by printing the CSL’s response, that no reader should take this as The 11 challenging the validity of the CBC report.

In May of 2011, a German court heard that a Croat match-fixing ring’s influence spread all the way to Canada. The court fingered a Sept. 12, 2009 match which saw the Trois-Rivieres Attak, the Montreal Impact’s farm team at the time, defeat Toronto Croatia 4-1.

When details of the court case hit our shores, Ursini made the following statement: “The CSL will work with the CSA to investigate these matters and we will provide the media with updates as soon as there is anything to report. We will be issuing an official statement shortly.”

But, what followed was silence. In October of 2012, in a piece that ran in Inside Soccer magazine (disclaimer: I wrote it), the league maintained its position that it could not comment on its progress on checking match-fixing in its league while FIFA was still investigating the cases.

Finally, on Feb. 2, 2013, the silence has been finally been broken. The CSL has said something. And this is where it gets shocking. CBC’s report indicated there may have been $100 million spent on gambling on the CSL. From Saturday’s release: “Ursini reported that, according to the Interpol conference, about $185 million is bet each year on CSL games worldwide so the need for vigilance on the part of the CSL and a strategy by FIFA to prevent match fixing are paramount. The CSL will continue to follow the direction of the CSA and FIFA, to be given high priority by the CSL.”

Think about that. A league that exists almost exclusively in southern Ontario — confirms that $185 million is gambled on its results… annually. Wow. That’s equal to the estimated economic spinoff of this year’s Super Bowl.

But, now that the CSL has gone public, it will be difficult for the Canadian Soccer Association to remain officially mum on the issue of the league’s sanction. Often, when one side goes public, the other is forced to go public, as well. It’s part of the world we live in, where PR departments often control just how much of the truth we discover, and when we find out.

Load More Related Articles
Load More By Steven Sandor
Load More In The Association


  1. Craig

    April 24, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    What a fascinating decision by the arbitrators, with equally fascinating spins by both the CSA and the CSL, both claiming victory.

    What makes this interesting is the arbitrator’s statements around the procedures:

    “I find also that in so doing, and in making the decision to de?sanction effective as of
    February 13, 2013,the CSA did not provide the CSL with a reasonable opportunity
    to apply for and receive sanction from the OSA so that they could continue to
    operate as a sanctioned league in 2013.

    The CSA has a duty
    to protect the interests of all of its members, particularly where such interest
    does not conflict with the best interests of the sport.”

    I’m not a lawyer but my understanding of civil suits is that if the actions of one party, done in negligence of expectations, cause harm to another party, then that party is entitled to recompense…and the CSL certainly took a huge hit with this. The wording of the arbitration decision would appear to provide significant ammunition for a suit. This could get interesting yet.

  2. CanSoc

    February 6, 2013 at 12:24 am

    The CSL has no fans. I’ve been to games with less than 10 people in the stands. Yet the president says $185 million is be on annually. So who is betting on these games if no one watches live, there is no regular tv (one weekly game most times tape delayed)?

    The CSA is pathetic and if they want to keep turning a blind eye or passing the buck to the OSA then I suggest we find a way we vote everyone out of the CSA. If they’re willing to okay this type of corruption I can just imagine what they do on a daily basis.

  3. FrontierFooty

    February 4, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    I’m still a little confused about this situation. Rycroft seems to mention that the CSL has chosen not to apply for sanctioning this year (apparently it is an annual requirement to renew sanctioning requirements) as opposed to the CSA specifically denying them sanction after the CSL has applied for renewal. There’s a distinction there, in that perhaps the CSL and CSA have decided privately among themselves to keep the CSL unsanctioned until either the league gets a handle on the corruption/match-fixing problem or the CSA is ready to introduce an improved Div. II pro-league framework in Canada – a model that the CSL will adopt in the future. Or both.

    Also, do you have any idea where one could get their hands on the Easton Report?

  4. [email protected]

    February 3, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    All the football fans must understand that the betting worldwide on the game is 100 billions each year, each game at MLS in USA $4 millions are bet, that is about 1.2 billion dollars in a year, in CSL is about $ 1 million per game and the main reason is that in the world when they bet in Canada and USA, the season in Europa are not active the month of June,July and part of August that is why the huge bet in North America game at that time of the year.

    When it comes to clean up, is the clubs who are the ones who pay the price of irregularities, you do not see the Italian A, or the premier in England being investigated for betting and penalized, each league in the world has safeguards to protect them from the corruption, and the clubs are the one who must control the players and have the safeguards.

  5. fortyorkredcoat

    February 3, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    If I understand this article correctly the CSL is saying everything will stay as it is and they’ll do everything in their power to let the governing bodies of the game clean up their league for them. That’s something except that this has now become a “he said, she said” about the CSL’s sanction status. They say they have it and now we have to hear AGAIN from the CSA to confirm that everything will be status quo this season for the CSL. Another step backward…

  6. footy

    February 3, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Well, usually they target smaller leagues just BEACAUSE they’re small, non-important leagues. I remember they fixed matches in the Finnish Second division. But hey, it’s easy to influence (because they make no money) and nobody’s watching! And at that level, you’d expect huge mistakes to be made, who’s to say which one was accidental and which one wasn’t?

    It is undermining the sport though and should be addressed in the most serious manner.

Check Also

Canada Soccer plays most of the hits, saves Herdman for the encore

Having Herdman come out to give the final words at a press conference is like knowing that…