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Interesting Article from CP re: Women's Team

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Unless there is a dramatic change in attitude within the provincial associations, very little will change at the CSA level since it is the provincial associations that govern the national body which, by definition, is an association of the provincial bodies.

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So the CSA must change from within. Those who wish reform must lobby (or join) provincial organizations and affect that change from inside the current structure. OR can governmental sports bodies (Provincial and Federal -- Ministers of Sports etc) be encouraged to investigate the CSA and affect meanful changes from without?

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On what grounds could any external interference be justified? I am not saying that change is not needed, just questioning the basis for such external involvement. The CSA has not breached its constitution or broken any laws and minimalist but legal fiscal reporting or poor management or performance of national teams is not acceptable grounds for that kind of brute force interference, not in a democracy like ours.

In reality the only way change will happen is through the provincial associations i.e. from the bottom up.

Here's an interesting development...

http://www.bcsoccerweb.com/articles-letters-2007/letter-beharry-oct-10.htm

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Well, I assume that the National Program does get some money from the Federal Government and "He who pays the piper calls the tune." I would think that the Sports Minister might have more influence with the CSA especially if he is going to throw some money their way. Remember Medical Care is a Provincial Responsibility but the Federal Government has a lot of influence since they provide the bulk of the funding.

I don't think that it has reached a point that the government needs to step in unless perhaps some laws have been violated but in our democracy parliament can legislate as they will (subject to the charter of course).

As to provincial organizations doing anything, it has been my experience (limited to one province of course)that people run for provincial executive for a variety of reasons and I don't think that National Team Development would be in the top 5 list of reasons. Most seem to have adgendas related to their own little part of the soccer world.

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One of my pet peeves about the way we have structured the administration of soccer in this country is how indirect the democracy or elected representation scheme is. It is this very system that gives rise to so much vested interest because in reality there are different concerns at each level. The structure not only makes it almost impossible to effect meaningful change but I believe it inherently inhibits investment in and development at the elite and national team level.

In our Canadian political federation the ordinary citizens elect municipal, provincial and federal government representatives in separate direct elections, why not elect our representatives for the governance of soccer at the different levels in the same tried and proven manner? Imagine the outcry if in our national political system the only elections were municipal and we relied on each city council to appoint representatives from within to the provincial parliaments and so on all the way to the federal parliament with the citizen electorate having no further say.

That's exactly what we do with our soccer hierarchy. The only direct election the basic membership participates in is at the club level. From there on up through district and provincial levels right up to the CSA and its president the grassroots membership has no further say and representation becomes increasingly more indirect. I shudder to think how many steps removed the CSA president is from the ordinary soccer player.

We don't govern our country like this so why do we do it for soccer governance?

I think it would be a good start if say 50% of the CSA board of directors was elected directly by the grassroots membership and any member in good standing could run for election. With current technology this kind of thing is much more feasible than it would have been when the existing structure was conceived and put in place.

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I know so little about the governance of soccer in Canada it's shameful. But I would gather that what we had in the past was sufficient and successful, however we've now run into problems as the phenomenal numbers boom and maturity of the game in the last 10-15 years has caused organizational growing pains. We've outgrown ourselves so to speak, which in the big picture is actually a really good thing.

The Australians went through the same thing a few years ago, and dealt with it quite well. I'm sure we can do as well or better.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_Report_of_the_Independent_Soccer_Review_Committee

With the right people appointed to lead it, the future is very bright.

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What we had in the past is exactly what we have now in terms of governance ever since the inception of the CSA. If all the planets align and with a lot of luck we end up with 'rightminded' competent people filtering up the tortuous ladder to the board of the CSA then the shortcomings of the system are of less significance and there will be times when that happens but we should build a system that mitigates against the bad times having such an impact.

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With the board in complete disarray and most of the programs in the dumpster, it would be a national disgrace to not revolutionize things.

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Have any of the Provincial Associations gone on record as to the changes they would like to see in the CSA or are they circling the wagons too? (or do they even care?)

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quote:Originally posted by terpfan68

Have any of the Provincial Associations gone on record as to the changes they would like to see in the CSA or are they circling the wagons too? (or do they even care?)

Yes, I would like to know that too. It is a scary realization that the Provincial associations ARE the CSA and have the control. The CSA is not a separate group of individuals that plunge from thin air and meet in Ottawa. In other words it is the case of the tails wagging the dog. Is it really practical for Provincial heads to sit on one chair to manage their Provincial affairs and then sit on another chair and manage the National affairs, which in some cases the two may be in conflict. We have all heard of the jokes attributed to 'managed by committee'. IMO the CSA is exactly that, a committee. Surely there is a chairman, but we know how little power that position has.

Do Provinces handle their affairs effectively? for the most part it seems they do. Making a parallel, I wonder how well would they operate if Provincial boards were made up of reps from all the clubs under them.

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Any nominees? No lightweights need apply:

"David Crawford is an Australian non-executive director who is experienced in corporate restructuring. David has also headed inquiries for the Australian government which reviewed the Australian Football League and Football Federation Australia. He sits on the board of several S&P/ASX 50 companies, BHP Billiton, Foster's Group, Lend Lease Corporation, and Westpac. He is a director of another Australian company, National Foods and is a former Australian chairman of KPMG.[1] On 26 September 2007 it was announced that David Crawford was to step down from his position on the board at Westpac and was to be the new chairman of Foster's effective 1 November 2007.[2]"

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The thing is that the Provincial Associations basically are the CSA. Yes there are paid employees at the CSA that may or may not be doing a good job - but they exist at the behest of the CSA Board - which is populated by reps from the Provincial Associations - and they are powerless to implement anything at the Provincial/District or Club level.

The worst thing is that each Provincial Board have convinced themselves that they are fighting the good fight against everyone else. Because everybody only has a small part in the voting structure (no province is allowed to have more than 25% of the overall votes) they all perceive themselves to be going it alone against their biggest rivals (In BC it is Quebec and Ontario - in Ontario it is Quebec and everyone in the West - in Quebec it is just everybody).

So responsibility at the CSA is like a dog chasing it's tail. There doesn't seem to be a definite line of authority to implement any particular vision of the game. You just end up going in circles.

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Yes, there are moves in the backrooms of some of the provincial associations from the rumblings I have heard. No idea if anything will come of it though.

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I think one way to start is with the big issue - Player development.

Right now there are so many different groups pulling players this way and that. Beyond the different National team age groups there are Regional Training Centres (either run by the CSA, the Province or some in tandem agreement). Then there are the Provincial All Stars, District Teams, Regional Teams and finally club teams. As many have said previously there is no clear line of vision/policy/responsibility from the National Level down to the grassroots (the clubs). There are too many levels for policies to pass through before reaching the people actually playing, reffing and coaching the games.

So.. the CSA should be the one and only provider of Technical programs. Their Technical Director (should they ever be able to attract a candidate again) should appoint their person to take on the Technical Director role for each member Province/Territory. With Regional Offices set up (in the larger provinces anyway) to work directly in supporting clubs, players, coaches and refs throughout each Province - all answerable up the chain. This way the entire player development will be directly answerable to the CSA TD and his vision instead of hundreds of mini-fiefdoms. Everyone across the country should then be 'on the same page' regarding Player, Coach and Referee Development.

These positions (and indeed the programs) should also be directly funded from the CSA Technical Department pot. The Provinces would make up the difference with the money they would be saving from ditching their own programs. Also the attraction to large corporate sponsors would be greater since they would know their brand would be advertised around the nation without conflicts from the provincial program sponsors. If a Provincial Board has any issues they would bring it up at the CSA Technical Committee meeting and hash it out with the professional in charge then and there. This would remove a huge burden from each province and allow them to devote more precious time and resources toward administration and competition issues.

This would also make the current All Star program one that is entirely about 'development' - Large Provinces could have several regional 'All Star' teams instead of one. The All Star Nationals could become more of a Festival of Player Development with workshops for the players, coaches and refs included. Yes, you would have Regional side playing each other... and you would probably still have gold and bronze medal games... but you would avoid ridiculous situations of having the 18 best players in Ontario (pop. 13,000,000) playing the 18 best from PEI (pop. 130,000) without denying those players from PEI from having a chance to experience that level of play.

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Hi Marty. What we have in place is the exact opposite of what you describe. The CSA has franchised player development to the provinces who run and pay for all the programs except when a national team camp is run which occurs only sporadically and for short periods. The national team coaches including the CSA technical director when we have one, visit the District Development Centres across the country four times a year to check and grade the talent.

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Guest Ed

Martyr, your ideas on TD and provincial/regional TD's sound fine on paper, but the fact of the matter is that the provincial regional TC's are not up to the coaching standards of many clubs. Take your Whitecaps as an example.

BTW, the population of Ontario doesn't seem to align with their piss-poor showing at many age levels at nationals.

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Has anyone had any problem with the selectors of provincial teams selecting players from their own home clubs over other perhaps more deserving players from other clubs whose coaches are not in the provincial in-groups? If the initial selection process is flawed then deserving players are past over and never get "looked at" by the selectors of the national programs. I don't know how it is in other provinces but I have seen it happen time and time again here in Manitoba. Of course you can't really complain because it sounds too much like "sour grapes". I know of one team which went to the National Competition three years in a row (once as an underage team) and only had two or three players selected while the runner up team in the province at their age group had nine or ten provincial players perhaps because their coach was involved with the selection process. If the best players are being overlooked the process is flawed at the grass roots.

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Yes, I've seen it happen and I will stick my neck out saying it happens all the time and it continues to happen. May I add that some of the 'selectors' have very peculiar ideas as to who should be picked. We need to do a better job by ex-pro players and widen our catchment areas.

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Richard... Yes, I remember when this was being set up in BC and I experienced this when I was in Newfoundland. Perhaps this is with hindsight, but I consider this 'franchising' to be a wishwashy approach. Perhaps this casting off of responsibility to the Provinces is the reason it has been so hard to fill that TD position at the CSA. Certainly a man like Dick Bate - an incredible find for the CSA at the time - would have preferred the CSA be in complete control over those centres and the personnel. Those centres are also only really available for the very elite players. What I'm thinking of would be a resource for all levels.

Ed... If there are poor TDs in the Provinces then bringing them all under the responsibility of the CSA TD would probably sort that out. If not we would at least know where to find the person responsible. Certainly, the province in question would give the CSA an awful hardtime if they were given someone that wasn't doing the job. Definitely more so than if they had hired that person themselves.

Terpfan68... I think if the selectors were all CSA appointees (drawn from a pool of candidates from across Canada rather than from any province in question) it would eliminate most of the bipartisan selections. However, no system seems to be foolproof in that regard.

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I can't speak for provincial allstar selections but certainly with the District Development Centres run by the provinces for the CSA, the CSA national team coaches do visit regularly and assess all the players so it is not left solely in the hands of provincial staff.

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They do not assess all players. They only assess players who have already been selected for the provincial programs. The players who have been passed over for provincial teams have not been looked at by anyone outside of their province. Maybe there should be "open" try out like Toronto FC had.

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Richard... good point. I don't want to get on your bad side. I read the FieldTurf debate... :-) I want to expand this discussion based on a great post you made earlier about your frustration with the structure of the administration of the game in Canada. Clearly we suffer from duplication of roles... and in my view Player Development is the biggest issue in this regard. We need a true 'separation of powers' if you will.

First, I don't mean to rubbish any of the good work being done in BC or anywhere else really. What I'm proposing isn't really meant to say that the actual coaches in place should change or lose their jobs. I just think that if we want to best sort out our player development priorities as a country and create a national vision we need to bring all those people together under one umbrella - and I believe that a national vision would be best carried out by the technical department of the national organization.

What has always concerned me is when Provinces (and Districts for that matter) try to act like clubs. To me the CSA should have a strong role (working with the clubs) in Player Development as one of it's key roles as an organization as they provide our National teams for competition in FIFA events. I think those FIFA events are clearly important to most people in the soccer community - so the CSA having a hands on role in Player development across the country makes complete sense.

So the question I'm putting forward now is "Should a Provincial or District Association have a role in Player Development". For me it is not so easy to make that case.

I believe that Player Development is an issue that quickly takes over any sports organization as their primary function - to the detriment of other very important roles. These groups (Provinces and Regional Districts) should first and foremost be acting as a Union for the clubs in their areas. They should be acting in an administrative and political capacity to get things done that are not possible for a club to do on its own. In fact I would argue that Districts should simply be local branch offices of the Provincial Association rather than a separate political entity. Clubs need things like cheaper insurance for its members and lobbying power with governments. Of course clubs need guidance on Technical issues as well but why have two or three different 'parent' organizations being consumed with that issue when one will do?

When Provinces and Districts do take on Player Development and organize their own teams for competition suddenly they are taking on the role of a club. Instead of helping the clubs provide a better service they end up (honestly, I think with good intentions) drawing the best people away from those clubs (players, coaches, team managers).

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I think Martyr made a very good point when he (she?) said that Provinces are acting like clubs. That really should not be their roll. We really need to enlarge the player base so that potential National team players don't get overlooked. If the numbers trained at 15, 17 and 19 years of age were to double (or triple) then the cream would eventually rise to the top. In addition competition for spots would in and of itself increase performance. Would Owen Hargraves have been overlooked in Alberta if the player pool for development had been doubled?

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