For those of you that haven’t heard, TSS just filed a lawsuit against BC Soccer. It details BC Soccer’s actions over the years that have hurt both the growth of soccer in our province, and how their actions have gone against the mandate of what their organization is supposed to stand for.
For those interested in getting a better idea of the goings on behind the soccer scene in BC can read TSS’ writ: here
Aka the above is a legal backing in which to stand my soapbox. In all seriousness, because of the choices that BC Soccer has made to sell out the integrity of their position in the system, they no longer are the neutral governing body that our sport in BC/Canada so desperately needs. They’ve instead chosen to use their authority over the sport, to further their own interests, and the interests of those for-profit groups that they’ve chosen to tie themselves into. One only needs to scan through the TSS writ to see examples of how those that they see as threats to their absolute control, have been persecuted.
To people that I’m trying to describe my frustrations with the Canadian soccer system, and the mis-use of authority by groups such as BC Soccer, I’ve jokingly likened it living within a fascist regime.
Then this morning I looked up the characteristics of fascism, and I realized that I’m not too far off.
Without further ado:
How Soccer in BC Resembles Fascism:
(From 14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism by Dr Lawrence Britt, Spring 2003 (his concepts underlined, his words quoted, my words in bold)
- Powerful and Continuing Nationalism: “Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols etc. Flags are seen everywhere as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays” Go to most soccer events in this province, and there will be an abundance of BC Soccer paraphernalia on display.
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights. “Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need” As per Amnesty International’s definition, human rights include: “equality before the law” and the “right to work.” One of TSS’ complaints, as I read it, is that BC Soccer is persecuting their organization in a manner that is infringing on their right to work. I will save it for a future blog in this series, but in the last month, I have first hand experienced the lack of “equality before the law.”
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause. “The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe.” Look no farther than groups such as TSS, that are constantly referred to as a “threat to our system”
4. Supremacy of the Military: “Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected” I’d argue that BC Soccer would be doing soccer in this province a favour if they focused more on furthering soccer in this province (“their domestic agenda”), than wasting time and resources going after groups (I will address emails we received after the Showcase in a future blog) that they perceive as a threat to their power.
5. Rampant Sexism “The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male dominated.” Look no farther than the level of involvement of every level of BC Soccer, from 1 female out of 20 being named a Grassroots Tutor, to every member of the BC Soccer technical staff being male, to 1 out of 14 BC Soccer board members being female. It could be argued, when compared to the number of females involved in other countries such as Scandinavia, Europe, the US etc, that there is some form of sexism occurring.
6. Controlled Mass Media “Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government, regulation or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives.” I recently came to find out that BC Soccer is “partners” with a local major media outlet. Doubtful that they are the only one. If a media outlet is partners with BC Soccer, this is obviously going to make them cognizant of reporting facts or information that would reflect badly on their partner, scary when we depend on these media outlets for a clear and fair reflection of the truth. Case in point, it seems like a fairly major development for our major soccer organization to be handed with a lawsuit. Yet as of yet, I have not read about it in any major form of Vancouver-based media. (Update: The Province Newspaper (Vancouver) printed a story in the May 14 edition)
7. Obsession with National Security “Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.” Look no farther than BC Soccer going after groups that have players “unsanctioned” by their organization, or the veiled threat of repercussions towards players/parents who choose to advance their players skills w organizations “outside” of the system.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined Ok I admit it, BC Soccer hasn’t threatened anyone going to hell if they don’t follow their mandate. At least that I know of.
9. Corporate Power is Protected: “The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.” BC Soccer/Whitecaps relationship in a nutshell anyone?
10. Labor Power is Suppressed: “Because the organizing power of labour is the only real threat to a fascist government, labour unions are eliminated entirely or severely suppressed” In my opinion, I think it is safe to say that other organizations not endorsed by BC Soccer are being severely suppressed, as they see these outside bodies as a threat to their power. I’d say the need for TSS to file a lawsuit to address the issue could be seen as proving this point.
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts: “Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education and academia.” BC Soccer openly puts themselves in the position of the highest authority in terms of soccer knowledge in our province. For anyone that has played or taken coaching courses outside of BC, it is evident how truly lacking our developmental system is. Keeping everyone inside that system allows for the masses to not know any better of what they are missing.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment “Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws.” Again my recent experience with our Showcase that I will discuss in a future blog, reinforces this. All the time BC Soccer goes after groups that have “unsanctioned” players, while it seems that other groups are not forced to abide by the same laws (again will be addressed in an upcoming email).
13, Rampant Cronyism and Corruption “Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use government power and authority to protect their friends from accountability.” One only needs to look at the Whitecaps/BC Soccer relationship, including positions on the BC Soccer Board and influence on the HPL league to make the assumption of rampant culture of cronyism.
14. Fraudulent Elections “Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham” I would say that this concept of a fraudulent election is an interesting one in the context of BC Soccer. I have read at length on the BC Soccer site about the roles and responsibilities of the Board of Directors. In essence these are the only positions in BC Soccer that comes via an election, and that in theory, give people in BC a voice or a chance to have a real influence on the system.
I would encourage everyone to read this document to get a better understanding that really the Board of Directors has little decision making power, and that there is little accountability in terms of the jobs that the staff of the organization does.
To see the BC Soccer BOD Roles and Responsibilities: Click Here
The beautiful game and the players in our country deserve better. Furthermore, in all facets of our society, organizations should be forced to abide by the principles that our great country was founded on. Last time I checked, fascist principles weren’t any of them.
I understand that I’m an American commenting, but inequity anywhere is wrong and the similarities between Fascism & BC Soccer are just downright scary. Maybe scarier still is the fact that this has gone on so long and it has taken a lawsuit to try to set it right.
Is it correct that any BC players who wish to play in the US have to have the OK of BC Soccer? If so, do the leagues in the US know of the problems with BC Soccer and do they care or do they just play nice to get along?
I support 2 teams that play in the same W-League division as the Whitecaps, so it’s not a stretch that this would concern me. Are the forces of fair play being compromised by the relationship between Whitecaps and BC Soccer? And let me be clear, I am not putting any of this on the players, I am putting this on the powers that be in the Whitecaps organization. Should BC Soccer have such a close relationship with any of the teams? I would find it hard to stomach if US Soccer, or any of the league governing bodies for that matter, had any kind of one-on-one relationship with an individual team.
P.S. – #8 made me chuckle out loud “..at least that I know of.”