Wednesday, 24 April 2013

CSL sanctioned for 2013, Kingston FC season back on track

Last night, Apr 23, the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC) officially released a pair of decisions that applied to the conflict between the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) and the Canadian Soccer League (CSL).

The very short summary of the decision is that the de-sanctioning of the CSL by the CSA for 2013 was delayed until February 13, 2014 rather than going into effect this year. As such, the CSL will be allowed to operate with CSA sanctioning for the 2013 season.

This entire situation came up late January/early February when the CSA made the decision to de-sanction the CSL. According to both sides, discussions were held between the CSA, CSL, and OSA with the idea that transitioning the CSL's sanctioning from the CSA back to the OSA (they moved to the CSA in 2009) as late as January 28, 2013, but the decision states:
It was never made clear to the panel as to what went wrong after the meeting of January 28, 2013, between representatives of the CSL, CSA, and OSA. There seemed to be an understanding arrived at during that meeting that CSA sanctioning for the CSL would come via the OSA.
The arbitrator, Hugh L. Fraser, once he was finally able to confirm that the SDRCC had jurisdiction on the matter, felt that the decision by the CSA was somewhat heavy handed as it came sixteen days after the apparent understanding. To support this, he stated:
It appears to the panel that there was no need for urgency in implementing the decision to de-sanction the CSL. The Ontario Soccer Association did not have a viable league in place. If it was contemplated as of January 28, 2013, that further meetings would be required to ensure that the CSL would be able to meet the criteria required for operation under the OSA sanction it seems highly unlikely if not impossible for all of that to have been accomplished prior to the CSA Board of Directors' meeting in early February, 2013.
He further noted that:
The CSA was never able to satisfactorily explain to the Tribunal why the immediate de-sanctioning of the CSL was in the best interests of the sport of soccer in Canada.
Despite the apparent win for the CSL by allowing them to operate for the 2013 season, Justice Fraser upheld the CSA's ability to de-sanction the league, simply delaying the de-sanctioning coming into effect until 2014.

This delay gives the CSL opportunity to apply to the OSA for sanctioning for their 2014 season, something that may be an issue with the OSA's expected introduction of the Ontario Player Development League (OPDL) and League 1 Ontario (L1O) this fall.

The CSA commented on the decision stating simply that their decision was made in light of the James Easton report and noted that they "remain committed to this vision moving forward."

The CSL also responded to this decision with a release late last night stating that Justice Fraser decided that "if the CSA wishes to remove sanction from the CSL, it will have to do it effective February 13, 2014." They also announced that their season opener would take place on May 3rd with SC Waterloo visiting London City, followed by Kingston FC hosting Brampton City United at 1pm on May 5th. The full schedule is expected to be released on April 29th.

On a more local note, Kingston FC is playing a friendly against Gloucester United at Tindall Field tonight (April 24th) at 8pm.

The specific decisions (for those really interested in reading a lot of legal stuff) are both available online:

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