The organizers of the new Albion FC Soccer Association in Maple Ridge are facing a challenge to the association’s legitimacy.
The Alouette District Youth Soccer Association, the body that oversees minor soccer in the Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission region, denied Albion FC membership in the district on May 9.
Albion FC appealed that decision to the B.C. Soccer Association, and the Alouette District’s ruling was reversed on June 10. Albion FC began preparing to compete as a new association, with some 500 players, beginning in September.
But that may be in doubt, after the Alouette District hired a lawyer and took the issue to the Canadian Soccer Association – the “supreme court” of soccer regulation in the country.
Alouette argues that Albion FC’s original appeal was groundless, because it did not identify a bylaw rule or regulation that was contravened.
“Our job as a district is to ensure that there are appropriate levels of play locally available to all children, and recreating a fragmented system, serves no one well,” says a news release from Alouette.
“There are great strides being made within the current make-up of the Alouette District Youth Soccer Association, and there is simply no need to go backwards in the board’s point of view. The board also felt that there was ample opportunity for those within Albion FC to work within the current system for the betterment of the game for all.”
Historically, there had been two soccer associations serving Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, and they combined to form the West Coast Auto Group FC two seasons ago.
The release says the B.C. Soccer appeals committee decision “sets a dangerous precedent,” and will “bring into question every decision made by the Alouette District Youth Soccer Association board and every other district in the province and could allow people to appeal any board decision they simply do not agree with. This then renders the BCSA the final judge on district matters, contrary to the BCSA Constitution.”
It says the Alouette board will meet again to discuss the matter in mid-August.
“For families who have already registered withAlbion, we appreciate the uncertainty the BCSA decision is causing.
“To be certain that your child will have a place to play in the fall; we encourage you to register with one of the two existing district clubs (West Coast Auto Group FC or Mission Soccer Club).”
Albion FC president Mike Smith sent members a letter outlining the situation, except to stress that Alouette operates under the authority of BC Soccer.
“The Alouette District claims to want to further soccer in the District but when District parents ask for another club because they want an alternative to the existing one, the Alouette District responds by spending money they get from registrations on lawyers and appeals. Why? What is wrong with allowing people who want an alternative to have one?”
“According to the rules, we have a club and until we are told otherwise, we will continue to have a club,” he said.