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  • Karl Jevne speaks -- a voice from within the storm


    Author's note: Karl Jevne is past-president of the Central Alberta Soccer Association.

    He is one of several Alberta soccer officials who took legal action to try to oppose Mario Charpentier's ASA board of directors. For that, he faces a March 16 disciplinary hearing with the Canadian Soccer Association.

    His association faces imminent suspension, which could prevent them from casting votes at this Friday's court-ordered ASA Specal General Meeting.

    CASA's vote could ultimately be crucial in keeping the dream of Canadian soccer governance reform alive.

    He has agreed to share his perspectives on the ever-worsening Alberta mess with Canadian Soccer News:



    1) Who are you, and how did you get into this situation?

    Until stepping down at the end of November, I've been the President of the Central Alberta Soccer Association for nine years. We are a small rural member district of ASA located between Edmonton and Calgary, surrounding but not including the city of Red Deer. There are thirteen small cities and towns in our district with a player population around 4000. Like most other volunteer Board members in this province (with a few notable exceptions), I ended up with the job because no one else would do it and I happen to love the game and was willing to serve. We live in an extremely hockey-centric part of Canada so soccer life is not always the easiest to put it mildly.

    The biggest reason our district got to where we are in this dispute stems from the fact that the ASA has never served the rural areas well. The two biggest associations in Alberta, namely the Edmonton and Calgary Minor Soccer Associations, have controlled the ASA Board for a very long time and to be frank, have made a mess of it. In somewhat of a perfect storm at the 2009 ASA AGM, we were able to elect a President and Vice-President from ouside the two big cities. Although the Board was still split some good things did start happening at the ASA. Of course as probably everyone who has followed this knows by now, this situation ended abruptly at the 2010 AGM and with the suspension of the President less than a month later.

    The CASA district could not stand back without doing something, along with many others, to try to right the incredible wrongs that were perpetrated by Mario Charpentier and Colin Innes and their minions. At the time we could not have predicted the interference of the CSA. We were well aware that the new ASA Board had no respect for bylaws or justice, but did not fully realize the extent of the the ties between some of the Executive of the CSA and the ASA Board. The issue of governance reform is one that many Albertans were aware of prior to this, and in fact was one of the reasons that Chris Billings was such a popular choice of the rural districts, smaller cities and those associations that were not under the direct control of Mario Charpentier and Colin Innes.

    2) Is Mario Charpentier the rightful president of the Alberta Soccer Association?

    I know you mean 1st Vice-President as of course Mario has never been and never will be President of the ASA. Even his Calgary allies wouldn't vote for him as they proved at the 2009 ASA AGM. As far as the majority of the members of the ASA are concerned, he is definitely not the rightful VP, and if the court had not ruled that the April 24th Special General Meeting was procedurally incorrect, he would not be today.

    3) Why did you choose to risk suspension by taking the ASA situation to court?

    Mario's Board had decided that our district, along with several others, would be banned from participating in provincial youth championships last summer. As the ASA bank accounts had been frozen, several districts set up a trust fund to pay their player registration fees into – a move which was bitterly opposed by the Mario Board. That fund was used to help the office staff pay salaries and bills. Although at the time we had two Boards claiming to represent the ASA, Mario's Board had the unconditional backing of their CSA cohorts and were intimidating the staff into semi-co-operating with them. We went to court specifically to get a ruling to protect our youth and adults from being banned by that board from playing, and to protect the ASA staff from their abuses, which by the way have been partially documented (check reformalbertasoccer website).

    4) How has the Central Alberta Soccer Association been affected?

    Both negatively and positively. The negative part of course is financial and emotional distress. The uncertainty of the situation is hard on everyone. The positive part is the coming together of the vast majority of our members. Right now in Central Alberta, you could easily get a few thousand "sack the CSA" votes with no trouble. Another good thing is how many people are now aware of the both the Voyageurs and Canadian Soccer News websites. So I would consider the increased awareness of the average volunteer, players, parents, etc. is the one big positive to come out of this. An informed membership is the worst possible scenario for both the present ASA and the CSA Boards. Of course I'm referring only to those board members who have been so determined to undermine reform.

    5) Do you believe soccer governance reform is threatened by the current ASA board's actions?

    Unquestionably. Without that card, the whole deck would have collapsed by now. Mario and Colin have nothing to offer the CSA other than their support for Mike Traficante, Dominic Maestracci and their supporters.

    6) What is the best possible solution to the current crisis?

    A ruling by Alberta Court of Queen's bench that the SGM called for this Friday go ahead with all members in attendance, under the control of an independent chair with open attendance. After that, an AGM where the members can vote for the board of their choice. Long-term, a way has to be found to change the ASA Bylaws to achieve governance reform in Alberta.

    7) Do you think that your district and the others who signed the SGM petition have enough votes to pass the SGM resolutions?

    I believe we do. I think people have had enough of this board, and are looking for leadership from a board that has the best interests of the sport and it's participants at heart – and not the selfish ambitions of power hungry professional "volunteers." I believe there are individuals out there who would be more than happy to step forward if they knew they wouldn't have to face the kind of mean, petty nastiness that has prevailed for so long at the ASA.

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