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8 July, 2022 (Ottawa, CAN) — Since 2014, Canada Soccer has been working with its 13 Provincial and Territorial Member Associations on a long-term project of achieving alignment in governance. The goal has been to develop clear and consistent structures, policies, and processes in soccer across Canada with a focus on accountability, diversity, transparency, professionalism, stakeholder inclusion and fair and equitable representation. This project has involved consultations, workshops, presentations and meetings and cooperation between Canada Soccer and its Member Associations and has been largely successful, transforming outdated business practices to a more effective and values-based approach.

Canada Soccer requires that the member voting structure of all its Member Associations be based on the principles of fair and equitable balance of stakeholder representation –– principles that are strict requirements set forth by Canada Soccer and its governing bodies, FIFA and Concacaf.

“In the case of the British Columbia Soccer Association (BCSA), while there has been some progress on institutional change, one fundamental challenge remains which is of concern to Canada Soccer. The imbalance in stakeholder representation of the membership reflected in the exercise of voting power at BCSA General Meetings. In short, there is a vast inequality in the votes cast, which advantages the Adult Leagues and disadvantages the Youth District Associations,” said Dr. Nick Bontis, President of Canada Soccer.

Considering BCSA’s registration statistics from 2016-19, the average number of players registered annually by the Youth District Associations was 100,641 while the average number of players registered in the Adult Leagues was 16,782. The Youth District Associations were allocated 50% of the voting power at Annual Meetings but had 85.7% of the players, while the Adult Leagues were allocated 50% of the voting power but had only 14.3% of the players. 

This must change. In September 2021, the President of Canada Soccer informed BCSA of its expectation that BCSA would take measures to ensure that the allocation of membership votes needed to reflected the principles of stakeholder inclusion and fair and democratic representation. To give time for BCSA to have a full and open discussion of the relevant issues and implement appropriate changes that were supported by the membership, Canada Soccer indicated that re-balancing of representation must be completed by the next BCSA Annual General Meeting, scheduled for November 2022. 

On June 1, 2022, a Special Meeting of the Members of BCSA had defeated changes to the BCSA Bylaws supported by Canada Soccer that would have achieved the desired result of a re-balanced representation. As a result, Canada Soccer has now written to BCSA to express its disappointment with this outcome and to confirm that if the required changes are not made by the deadline of the BCSA 2022 Annual Meeting, Canada Soccer will take steps to suspend BCSA as a Member Association.

Canada Soccer has little desire to impose sanctions on its Member Associations or any League, Club, or group unnecessarily. In the case of every other Member Association with which Canada Soccer has worked on the alignment project over the past eight years, our cooperative efforts, consultations, and collaboration have produced enhancements to governance structures and processes that have been more effective and elevated positive values in soccer. We continue to be dedicated to assist BCSA in whatever way we can to get the same positive results that we’ve seen across the country.