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A response to erroneous use of the word erroneous

On Thursday, I reported this. Some of you may have heard about it.

On Saturday, the CSL responded. I've included their release below, as well as some helpful notes, in hopes of clearing up any misconceptions.


The Canadian Soccer League issues the following statement in response to an erroneous online CBC story and broadcast of Thursday, January 31 ‘CSA cuts ties with the Canadian Soccer League’, also described by the CBC as ‘Canadian Soccer League loses sanctioning after match-fixing report’.

Erroneous? That’s a big word, isn’t it? Let's take a look at what it means.

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.

Still? Well, technically, the CSL hasn’t even applied for sanctioning in 2013. You are sanctioned on a year-by-year basis. Forgetting for a second that the CSA has informed you in person and in writing that it will no longer be sanctioning professional leagues in Canada – including your own (actually you’re the only league they sanction) – the CSL would have to apply for sanctioning again for it to be considered still sanctioned. But perhaps, we’re talking in semantics here. I only wanted to point out that it would be erroneous of you to suggest you are still sanctioned.

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.

Strange how a change in the division 2 structure would affect a division 3 league, no? But you are correct. Well, sort of. As I understand it, the CSA board has already adopted recommendations within the report. Of which, includes, giving them the justification to no longer sanction leagues and passing that responsibility off to the provinces - if they so want it. And I just checked again, yep, the CSL is still (sorry, was still) the only league sanctioned by the CSA.

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.

Alleged match fixing? I was under the impression that a ruling by a German court, hundreds of hours of police wiretaps, interviews conducted with dozens of players, soccer officials and other sources attesting to ongoing fixing and a lawyer representing one of the European fixers convicted in the Berlin court admitting that his client helped fixed games in Canada was all pretty concrete evidence. Oh, and of course, a full confession by the people who actually did the fixing, would be tantamount to guilt. But perhaps you and I have different standards for these things.

Far be it for me to point out what is or isn't erroneous here, but despite the continued efforts of some to limit the perceived scope of this story to one alleged game, long ago, in a CSL far, far away, the reality is the situation is obviously far more dire.

Forgetting all the CSL player testimony, when I read in those wire taps that the same people who had fixed games with such ease were inquiring about purchasing teams (not just fixing other games, but buying entire teams) I'm not so stupid as to assume that it was an isolated incident. Like I said, forgetting all the other testimony from people in and around the CSL who told us that players were regularly being approached to take bribes from 2010 and on, I'd still like to know more. In other words, there is a need to investigate to clear away any suspicion. And speaking of which, we'll get back to that in a second.

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.”

OSA? Why would you work with them? What do they have to do with the CSL? Just a few paragraphs ago you had said you were still sanctioned by the CSA. What does the OSA have to do with anything? Very strange CSL. If I was to guess, however, I would say that after the CSA informed you they were longer sanctioning the CSL, that you applied to the OSA. But you tell me. Actually, you don't need to tell me, as I've been told you already have reached out to the OSA to discuss sanctioning.

The CSL has taken exception also, to the report in the CBC story that several requests for a comment from the CSL went unreturned. Ursini said this has been investigated and it is clear no such enquiry by the writer or any member of the CBC has been received.

Glad to hear you have investigated this. It would be the first time, to the best of my knowledge, that the CSL has investigated anything associated with matchfixing in your league. But just so we're crystal clear, I made two calls to the CSL the day the story aired. Neither were returned.

And while we're on the subject of communication I feel like we've grown apart these past few months. You never call or write anymore. I've sent you numerous emails and phone calls since September but not one has been returned. That didn't stop you from calling colleagues of mine and trying to convince them that I was a bad seed.

Hell, CSL, you didn't even have the courtesy to send me the press release about the story I wrote about you. That just hurts, man.

But perhaps this is a moment in time where we can rekindle our passion. I mean, why else would you bring up the concept of communication if you didn't want to start talking again? If I can begin, perhaps we can discuss a favourite topic of mine: did either Chris Budimir, Mate Budimir or Ante Sapina fund or finance teams between 2010 and 2012? I know this has been a real sticking point in our relationship and we just can't seem to get past it. It's that old lovers story: you think I'm out to get you, I think you're out to get me, someone comes to my house and threatens my family, yadda yadda.

But that's all in the past now. I've forgiven whoever it was that showed up at my place that evening. As a peace offering, perhaps we can do a trade. I'll show you mine if you show me yours. I'd like to see the financial records of just a couple teams, including who funded and financed them. You do me that solid and I'll gladly show you some of the wiretaps.

Ursini explained the CSL is working hard toward the new season to kickoff late April, that it is business as usual and his hope that all teams, old and new, and fans will not be deterred by the unfortunate misleading story released by the CBC. Ursini reported that according to the Interpol conference about $185 million is bet each year on CSL games world-wide, 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.

I finally get it! This is what you meant when you said erroneous. I had reported that Interpol had told the Integrity in Sport conference that $100 million had been bet on the CSL since 2010. When, in fact, it was actually $185 million a year. A stupid mistake on my part to be sure.

I'm glad to see you're taking this with such stride and conducting business as usual though. You have to understand, it's hard for little people like me to imagine these sorts of things. What's par for the course in the fast paced lifestyle of the CSL, is truly staggering to the rest of us. Originally, I was shocked to learn that a number as large as a $100 million had been bet on a league whose average attendance is around 250 people a game. So, you can imagine how I felt when I read that the number bet on the CSL is nearly double that. And every year!

I'm sure you will be putting a great deal of effort into investigating why $185 million is being bet on your little out-of-the-way league every year. You know, because it would be erroneous to suggest you were being vigilant against matchfixing if you didn't.