CSL finally goes public: Says it still has CSA sanction By Steven Sandor Posted on February 3, 2013 6 0 465 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter 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.