of 2007 parents and players in the Edmonton soccer community were
elated when a press release was issued with the headline: Successful Mediation Leads To A
Single Organization Representing Youth Soccer in Edmonton.
It is now 2011 and as you are no doubt aware there is no single
organization representing youth soccer in Edmonton. So what happened?
After the Alberta courts ruled in favor of the EIYSA's action regarding
the Provincial playdowns (See here for the details) the ASA sent a
letter to the EIYSA informing the EIYSA that the ASA Board of Directors
was conducting an investigation into the conduct of the EIYSA to
determine whether expulsion was warranted. This hearing was adjourned
while the ASA and the EIYSA entered mediation. A mediation agreement
was reached wherein it was agreed that discussions would take place to
resolve the following issues: all issues in the judicial review
applications; all issues relating to ASA's proceeding; and whether
the parties can agree on a proposal for governing EIYSA and EMSA
relationships and interactions on a going forward basis.
The EMSA was to be invited to participate, if they declined proceeding
would continue in their absence. This agreement was reached on the 21st
of November 2011.
I have underlined the section above to bring attention to the fact that
an issue to discuss a proposal for governing EIYSA and EMSA is part of
the mediation agreement signed by both EIYSA and EMSA. Later on you
will understand why I highlight that here. Sigh.
The mediation agreement further states:
(I) a. To promote success,
parties with reasonable authority to make settlement decisions must be
present and participate in the mediation process. For greater certainty
this provision does not require an association to call a meeting of its
members to seek authority.
The mediation agreement was signed by representatives from the ASA,
EIYSA and EMSA.
On the 27th of November a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was
reached between EIYSA and EMSA, initially this was a working document
with the understanding that details would be further refined. The document was sufficient at this point to prompt the press
release touting the formation of a single organization to represent
youth soccer in Edmonton.
Generally the Memorandum of Understanding called for District 8 (Edmonton) to be
divided into 7 zones:
- 6 community districts based on current EMSA zones and
1 district representing competitive soccer.
- The 6 community zones would administer tiers 3
- The 7th zone would administer tiers 1 and 2.
- Any existing EMSA clubs playing tier 1 or 2 and all
current EIYSA clubs would be members of Zone 7.
- Zone 7 would be authorized to provide clinics and
camps for U10.
The document also set out a framework for the division of
powers, board representation and jurisdiction.
The year appeared to be ending with some optimism, there was a mediated
agreement in place, a memorandum of understanding (MOU)
signed by representatives with the authority and power to do
Then the EMSA Tier 1/Tier 2 Director, Phil L'Heureux, sends
out an email on Dec 3rd, 2007:
joining of the 2 leagues will greatly impact the EMSA Clubs
financially. When we ran the combined U18s two summers ago, we had to
pay an additioanl $1000 per team to cover EIYSA cost. I don't see it
being any different now, there are 82, T1 and T2 teams in EMSA. So if
you do the math that's $82,000 per season, $164,000 per year, can we
afford to do this?
you are opposed to this union, SPEAK OUT, email EMSA, email the Media,
and email the EMSA Zone Presidents. We need to raise concerns over this.
Now this email tells me two things:
Ok, so not everyone agrees with the MOU signed by those with the
authority to represent their associations.
- Someone liked their position in minor soccer
and was looking out for number one; (Mr L'Heureux is still Director of
Premier programs in EMSA)
- EMSA clubs are subsidised by the community programs
to the tune of $1000 per team per season. EIYSA clubs work on a cost
recovery basis, registration fees from players pay for the team costs
associated with playing in the league. Apparently not so in
EMSA otherwise the $1000 would not be required. So using Mr L'Heureux's
numbers that is a $164,000 per year subsidy from community programs to
assist the EMSA Club programs.
So on the 14 Dec, the EIYSA sends a letter to the ASA and the EMSA. In
the letter they indicate that since the MOU was signed there has been
no communication between EIYSA and EMSA; they are concerned with
reports that a campaign to oppose the new organization is starting; the
EIYSA board has endorsed the proposal and to keep the process moving
they suggest a meeting of the negotiating teams, the boards of
EIYSA/EMSA and all club Presidents. The meeting would allow for the
presentation of the MOU and clarify any questions about the MOU.
On Jan 21, 2008 the meeting suggested by EIYSA was held and chaired by
Mr Jim Leighton (minutes). At this meeting the attendees were presented
with 2 MOU's. The original signed by the EIYSA and EMSA reps with
authority to sign and a second copy containing changes made by the EMSA
board. When asked why two copies existed the Chair clarified that the
original document was a working copy implying that it was subject to
possible change. The EMSA President further clarified that EMSA was
unaware that the original intent of the mediation meeting to create one
minor unified organization for soccer in Edmonton. WHAT!?
On Nov 21 the EMSA signed the mediation agreement, on 27th Nov
EMSA signed a MOU and on 30th Nov jointly issued a press
release within which the EMSA President states:
Mario Charpentier, President of
EMSA, said "In SOCCER EDMONTON, we look forward to building a new
future for soccer for all young players in Edmonton."
And now he is essentially stating he had no idea that the
intent was to create one minor unified organization!
The meeting proceeded using the EMSA modified MOU with the
understanding that there may be items that the EIYSA does not
agree with. It is of interest that this EMSA document now refers to
Zone 7 as the 'Competitive Clubs Committee' .
The members at the meeting also ratified that as per ASA and CSA
mandates respectively, there can be no competitive club soccer for U10.
It was also made clear that the 7th entity (Zone 7 or Competitive Clubs
Committee) would run clinics and camps for U10s and would relinquish
their U12 developmental program.
The meetings ended with a plan for a smaller group to meet on Feb 6th.
So this meeting which started as a information meeting to explain the
MOU to soccer leaders ended up being a working session that went over
an EMSA edited version of the original MOU in which the proposed
organization went from having a Zone 7 administering competitive
program to a committee looking after the competitive side. But the
details would be worked out at the Feb 6th meeting.
On Feb 4th Mr Charpentier informs all participants of the Jan 21st
meeting that the EMSA Board of Directors reviewed the original MOU and
the minutes of the 21 Jan meeting and approved the
unification of the two minor groups but will only move forward with a
unified minor/youth soccer association if all Premier/Elite clubs are
organized under the sole jurisdiction of the existing six EMSA Zones.
So in less than 3 months we go from a press release indicating a common
organization with zone dedicated to community/tier 3 soccer and another
zone dedicated to club soccer to 1 organization with a competitive
committee to finally 1 organization with all clubs reporting to the
zones. This is not negotiating in good faith.
On Feb 6th the planned meeting occurred and the EMSA indicated that the
clubs were to be "managed in the zones the way club teams are now" When
asked about the competitive committee and whether or not it would
exist. The answer was "possibly so"
At this point I would not have been surprised if the EIYSA just stopped
pursuing the matter. However, another meeting was planned
wherein 3 reps + an alternate from EMSA and 3 + alternate from EIYSA
were to meet to work out the details.
The initial meeting of the reps from the EMSA and EIYSA was
scheduled for April 17th. Despite the fact that all the EMSA reps
confirmed their attendance only Rick Vansen from EMSA actually attended
the meeting. At the ASA planning meeting the EMSA VP indicated that the
meetings with EMSA representatives need to be coordinated by the EMSA
Executive Director, Juan Ortiz.
To date no further meetings have occurred and SOCCER EDMONTON is just a
Remember that the original MOU and even the one that had EMSA's changes
both indicated that the competitive side of the organization would be
able to run U10 camps and clinics?
On Feb 27th, three weeks(ish) after EMSA indicated that unification
could only happen if all clubs reported to the zones, the ASA notifies
EIYSA that EIYSA cannot operate any form of U10 soccer as mini soccer
is the sole operating responsibility of EMSA.
In response to a 6th March application to the ASA by the EIYSA to continue the U10 program, the ASA called a meeting for the 11th March
to be attended by the ASA, the EIYSA and the EMSA to bring resolution
to the issue of U10 development programs and leagues within District 8.
EMSA never attended the meeting. The ASA indicated that any resolution
to this issue be decided between EIYSA and EMSA and suggested the two
groups meet to discuss and resolve EIYSA's involvement.
In response to an EIYSA request of EMSA to meet to discuss resolving
the U10 issues Mr Charpentier replied:
You sent us
an email asking for a meeting with EMSA regarding the U10 program in
EIYSA, in that email, you stated that the U10 was an issue to be
resolved between EMSA and EIYSA. At that time, we request directions
from ASA (we let you know about that). We got the response, and we
believe that you have a copy of it. In the ASA letter, it is absolutely
clear the direction given to EIYSA in this regard. Accordingly to that
response, we do not see any need to have a meeting on the under 10
Minor Soccer Association
It is now 2011, there is no unified soccer program in Edmonton and
EIYSA Clubs are the only clubs in the province who are denied the
ability to operate a U10 program.
Remember the 21 Nov meeting attended by all the Presidents of the Clubs
in Edmonton where they ratified the ASA and CSA mandates that
there can be no competitive U10 club soccer?
In fact at the time the ASA website had this on it:
"This mandate was given to the ASA from the Canadian Soccer Association
(CSA) by way of the long term player development which states that all
mini programs in Canada must be:
- small sided games
- mini programs are an introduction to the game
- minimum practices
- the program must be house league (grass roots)
- for enjoyment of the children
- minis do not fit in any elite program"
Well every EMSA club now has tryouts for club level U10
On September 15, 2008 the ASA denied the EMSA request to have U12
designated as mini-soccer.