Jump to content
  • The real threat



    As reported on Canadian Soccer News earlier this week – and confirmed here – FIFA is strong-arming the Canadian Soccer Association to shut down a key Alberta soccer reform. The word “expulsion” features ominously.

    As you may know, deposed members of the Alberta Soccer Association went to court last year after being ousted in a nasty backroom coup.

    FIFA bars, objects to and prohibits court intervention in soccer matters. As Alberta prepares to remove the anti-court clause from its constitution at an annual general meeting set for Saturday, the CSA is working hard behind the scenes to try to head FIFA sanctions and suspensions off at the pass.


    The biggest obstacle? The CSA was so hammer-handed in its handling of the Alberta mess, a significant portion of that province’s go-to soccer folk are in absolutely no mood whatsoever, thanks, to be told what to do by Metcalfe Street.

    The CSA is now caught squarely in the middle, with little apparent choice but to suspend Alberta if the by-law in question gets bounced. Consequences of that could be dire – including a possible sidelining of NASL expansion team FC Edmonton.

    Hence CSA general secretary Peter Montopoli’s carefully worded letter to Alberta earlier this week. Montopoli – a firm, quiet, clever man who has done a world of good for Canadian soccer in recent times – is hoping Alberta can step back from the brink, and agree to be part of a longer, deeper discussion of the matter, to be somewhere other than the receiving end of FIFA’s bureaucratic blunderbuss.

    As a guy who’s been on the Alberta story for months – and the FIFA angle since 4:30 Saturday morning – I’m pleading with everyone to understand that FIFA’s a little too big to beat right here and right now.

    I absolutely hate the court restrictions. To have a famously corrupt international body of sport tell anyone – let alone Canadian citizens – they don’t have fair access to the justice system enrages me. Damn right Alberta ended up in the courts!

    Montopoli has, at least, acknowledged that the CSA has to make significant changes to its dispute-resolution mechanism. He hasn’t put a time deadline on it, either, which is good because there is a long, long way to go to heal all the recent damage.

    FIFA has been brought to heel by governments in the past. The European Union, in particular, has done valiant work to keep Sepp Blatter, Jack Warner and the rest of them in line with the prevailing law of the land.

    But with a federal government that commits only $1 million per year to soccer, and a federal sports minister who clearly doesn’t want to get involved, there’s nothing on the battlefield right now that has the guns needed to outdraw FIFA.

    So – truly – someone has to blink.

    Who does it – and whether it happens at all – will be determined in Alberta on Saturday.

    More to come tomorrow.


  • Create New...