Home Canadian Soccer The Association The Quebec Soccer Federation deserves the silent treatment from the CSA

The Quebec Soccer Federation deserves the silent treatment from the CSA


There is someone that Canadian Soccer Association President Victor Montagliani can look to for guidance as he faces the biggest political crisis since he took the reins of the organization.

Ironically, it’s a Montrealer. A man from Quebec. Actually, a man from Montreal who brought life to one of the most enduring fictional characters of his time.

Yes, William Shatner as Captain Kirk.

On Wednesday, the Quebec Soccer Federation announced the results from its emergency conference call — that it would stand by its decision to ban players from wearing turbans, patkas and keski on the fields of play in the province. On Monday, the CSA board voted to suspend the QSF because of its insistence to continue the ban, despite a directive from Ottawa that demanded that religious headwear be allowed on the field.

The QSF said that, despite standing by the ban, it wanted to open a dialogue with the CSA. And that lends credibility to the rising theories that the turban-ban is simply a bargaining chip, a flashpoint issue, to begin wider talks about a series of grievances Quebec harbours against the CSA.

Now, this is where we get back to Shatner/Kirk. In the classic original series, this is pretty well how Kirk “negotiated” with any adversary. He laid out his terms, then he told Uhura to cut the communications. He wanted to make the other captain sweat. He understood the value of silence. You’ve set the boundaries, laid out the consequences, why the rhetoric?

Of course, as a media person, I’d selfishly love Montagliani or other CSA board members to make a series of sweeping statements. More back-and-forth means more quotable material. And, of course, The 11 contacted the CSA this morning to ask if there will be reaction to the QSF.

So far? Silence. And it’s absolutely the right thing to do. The Shatner thing to do. Human rights are not bargaining chips. They aren’t up for negotiation. The CSA has laid out the terms, and laid out the consequences.

In the right circumstances, the best tool to put pressure on another person or party is silence. The Canadian Soccer Association and Montagliani have said what they have needed to say — the QSF is suspended until it demonstrates that it is allowing those with turbans, patkas or keski to play. Until then? It’s out.

Really, what more needs to be said? The CSA has made its case, it has the support of the majority of Canadians, and simply needs to stand firm. It can’t get sucked into discussion after discussion, especially if the aim of the QSF is to use the turban debate as a doorway to greater discussion about the CSA. And, if the QSF is doing this as a way to try and publicly embarrass Montagliani, a presidential candidate it did not support, then silence from the CSA prevents the leader from being compromised.

With the Parti Quebecois backing the QSF the debate cannot be separated from other political forces at play. Quebecers might complain that the turban issue isn’t about separatism, but the PQ decided to wade into the debate. And it’s clear that there are several QSF directors who are just fine with the notion that their association will operate outside the purview of the CSA. And that’s the scary thing… how do you to negotiate with people who actually might WANT to be suspended?

Again, silence is golden.

UPDATE: The CSA has not offered comment (nor does it plan to), but it did outline Wednesday what the suspension means for Quebec. Hypothetically, if the QSF did not relent, Montreal would lose the right to host Women’s World Cup or U-20 Women’s World Cup matches. We hope it doesn’t come to that…

• Prohibit the participation or hosting of inter-provincial competitions, tournaments or matches;
• Prohibit the participation or hosting of national competitions, including All Stars showcase and National Club Championships;
• Prohibit the participation or hosting of international competitions, tournaments or matches;
• Prohibit the appointment of international or national list officials to Quebec Soccer Federation’s competitions, tournaments or matches;
• Prohibit the participation or benefiting from Canadian Soccer Association meetings (AGM, Technical Director meetings, Executive Directors meetings, Members Forum, Competitions Committee, etc.);
• Prohibit the participation or benefiting from FIFA, CONCACAF, Canadian Soccer Association courses, including coaching and refereeing;
• No access to hearing for appeals/disciplinary matters.

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  1. Jamonty

    June 13, 2013 at 7:14 am

    Are the Montreal Impact under the umbrella of the QSF in any way? Would this have any affect on the Impact’s Concacaf Champions League matches?

    • Steven Sandor

      June 13, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      Not at all. The Canadian major pro teams — the three MLS and two NASL sides — are sanctioned directly by the CSA, not their respective provincial associations. You may remember a couple of years ago that the Alberta Soccer Association was taking its internal squabble to court and ran the risk of sanctions. Had those sanctions happened, FCE wouldn’t have been affected. The national sanctions protect the sides from these regional squabbles.

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