Home Canadian Soccer FIFA threats take effect: Contentious Alberta reform proposal taken off the table

FIFA threats take effect: Contentious Alberta reform proposal taken off the table

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The reformers have blinked.

Threats from FIFA urging the suspension of the Alberta Soccer Association and possibly the Canadian Soccer Association look to have had their desired effect.

The 11 has learned that notice has been given to kill a a proposed resolution that would have deleted Article 32 from the Alberta Soccer Association’s bylaws, and allowed for the courts to rule on the longstanding battle over the leadership of the ASA.

The Edmonton Interdistrict Youth Soccer Association, which had given notice it would table a motion at Saturday’s ASA annual general meeting to delete the bylaw, submitted a letter on Thursday stating it will withdraw.

Now, the EIYSA is urging members to wait on a promised new dispute-resolution mechanism that has been promised by CSA General Secretary Peter Montopoli.

“In view of Mr. Montopoli’s commitment that the CSA is developing a standard form dispute resolution clause for consideration by members, EIYSA is willing to await the results of the CSA’s efforts,” reads a letter from the EIYSA to the ASA.

The letter goes on to state that if a new dispute-resolution is found, “the need to seek recourse to the courts is reduced.”

FIFA had written a letter to the CSA warning that the removal of the ASA bylaw would breach its regulations on not allowing political interference with soccer bodies. It recommended that, if ASA passed the motion, that Canada risked being suspended from FIFA and all its related competitions.

The EIYSA is adamant that its motion did not violate the spirit of FIFA regulations, as FIFA statutes permit access to courts if “legal provisions specifically provide for or stipulate recourse to ordinary courts of law” and that other federations, such as the United States Soccer Federation and South Africa, allow for court intervention. Still, it is clear that it is willing to set aside the motion to allow for the CSA to show its cards.

In March, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled that members of the Alberta Soccer Association who were suspended after a nasty battle over the leadership of the organization could not be blocked from going to court by the CSA or any other soccer body. That set the stage for Alberta to drop the provision in its bylaws prohibiting its officials from going to court, as it violated the law of the land. And, it warned that an “obstruction of justice”

In 2010, elected ASA president Chris Billings was suspended over allegations of unauthorized spending of funds on items such as halftime-show entertainment and sideline heaters. He and his supporters went to court to fight for his reinstatement and were warned they would be disciplined by the CSA if they continued to seek legal recourse.

The EIYSA’s full letter can be found here.

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