Jump to content
  • FC Edmonton threatened by Alberta reforms



    On the very day FC Edmonton is set to play its very first official game, away to the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, Canadian Soccer News has learned the team could be barred from playing competitive matches if the Alberta Soccer Association passes a controversial reform allowing court intervention in soccer-related matters.

    In a private, early-morning meeting with two sources intimately connected with this weekend’s special meeting of the Canadian Soccer Association, I was told unequivocally the CSA will have no choice but to immediately begin suspension procedures against Alberta if the ASA continues on its present course.

    If such a suspension is imposed, all sanctioned soccer teams in Alberta – up to and including FC Edmonton – would be unable to take the field without facing severe penalties to management, coaches and all players.


    The controversial motion will be considered at the ASA’s annual general meeting on April 16. It stems from the long recent dispute over who actually runs Alberta soccer, which led to multiple court actions in defiance of world soccer law.

    FIFA forbids soccer players, teams and administrative bodies from seeking court relief. All matters are to be handled internally – and all outside concerns about basic human rights are considered to be non-soccer issues.

    The implications could reach far beyond FC Edmonton. The new NASL, the only tier-two professional soccer league in the United States and Canada, is operating this season with the bare minimum number of teams required for USSF sanctioning – eight. If FC Edmonton were barred, the consequences for the entire league – and North American Soccer pyramid – could be severe.

    Both sources stressed that the CSA would have no choice here. This entire story is already written, they said, in the by-laws of the ASA, CSA and FIFA.

    When asked if FIFA would move to suspend Canada if strong action was not taken against Alberta, both sources responded identically – and simultaneously:

    “Oh fuck, yeah.”

    The profanity is included here, to underscore their sense of imminent urgency.

    If Canada were suspended, Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact would all be forced to the sidelines. Canada’s national teams – including the women in their upcoming World Cup and the men in the CONCACAF Gold Cup – would be barred from playing.

    All of this, in a direct domino-effect from Alberta’s attempt to allow the courts to comment on the business of soccer.

    Fortunately, it is unlikely to ever go this far. FIFA has issued several suspensions in recent times – Turkey, Greece, a few others – and all matters were swiftly resolved, largely because whoever was challenging the status quo backed down.

    The deeper issue of why and whether soccer people should have to forfeit a fundamental part of their human rights is not going to be resolved here, under these circumstances. The hammer FIFA holds over everyone, everywhere, will be – for now – the ultimate deciding factor.

    Much more on this story as it develops.


    A note on anonymous sources: I don’t like it either, folks, but sometimes there is no other way.

    Keeping on top of the news frequently means having background chats with key people, who tell you what they know in exchange for anonymity. Many times, it is the only way to complete – or ever learn about – an important story.

    Sometimes – as happened this morning – a major news story breaks right in the middle of a confidential chat. The only thing that can be done then is to try to negotiate with the sources, so as much of the tale as possible can be told, even if the ultimate source cannot be revealed. That happened this morning. You’ve just read the results.

    I’ll do everything I can to put names to quotes in the future. Not long ago, we wouldn’t have got this story at all.

  • Create New...