The Canadian Soccer League is no longer sanctioned by the CSA

Duane Rollins

by Duane Rollins, the 24th minute

A year ago today, the CSL received a one-year deferral on the de-sanctioning so that clubs could make decisions on how to proceed. Originally the CSA had pulled sanctioning for Feb. 13, 2013, but an arbitrator at the SDRCC decided to force the CSA to provide sanctioning for one final season.

The CSL was implicated in a match-fixing scandal in 2012. A game between the Trois-Rivières Attak and Toronto Croatia was proven to have been fixed. A number of others were alleged to have been fixed.

However, the official line was that sanctioning was pulled because the league failed to meet the financial requirements the CSA had set for semi pro leagues. Former CSN Editor-In-Chief Ben Rycroft reported that 12 of 14 teams failed to meet the basic requirements in the 2012 season.

There is no indication that there was an improvement in 2013. In fact, the CSL did little to work with the CSA to resolve the differences. Instead they sought basic sanctioning from a group calling itself the Soccer Federation of Canada.

The SFC is not recognized by FIFA and is run by a group of people disgruntled by an Ontario Soccer Association decision to phase out the Ontario Youth Soccer League in favour of the Ontario Player Development League. The OPDL is based on the philosophies of the CSA’s Long Term Player Development model, while the OYSL represents the pyramid system that has been used in Ontario for generations.

In effect, the decision to accept sanctioning from the SFC group has made the CSL an outlaw league. SFC sanctioning is nothing more than protection against personal injury liability. There is no accountability and by the CSL’s own admission in a recent press release, there will be no governance.

If the CSL was operating like a local beer league, this might not be an issue. However, your beer league isn’t being listed on international gambling markets and doesn’t have a proven history of fixing.

Of note, as of today, the CSL can now handpick what referees it will use. And the OSA has indicated that there will be fines and suspensions for their referees who officiate in any unsanctioned leagues.

Already a league shown to be ripe for fixing with its low to no pay, or it’s little to no oversight, the CSL is now more vulnerable than it has ever been.

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