November 17, 2020
To BCCSL Members:
These have certainly been unprecedented times this season as it relates to COVID and returning to play with a sport we are all so passionate about. These past few weeks have also created confusion with new orders from Dr. Bonnie Henry. Our #1 priority, as a league, is to have kids playing the sport of soccer. We truly understand the physical and mental benefits of kids playing sports, particularly these days. However, we are only going to do that when it is safe and we get clear directions from both BC Soccer and ViaSport, who are the organizing bodies setting direction during these difficult times.
Our decision to cancel games Sunday, Nov 8th was based on the fact that we did not get any directions from the governing bodies on what is appropriate and what was not. Once we got those directions, we quickly re-evaluated and moved forward appropriately.
We do want to stress that this season is considered an exhibition season. We are not keeping standings and the focus is to get kids playing. We are all in this together and collectively, we will get through this. Going forward, we want to ensure that the following is understood and adhered to:
COVID Policies and Processes
Any processes and policies that have been established by the governing bodies, municipalities and clubs, are not being policed by the BCCSL. As a league, we do not have the jurisdiction of determining what should or should not be followed or penalize those clubs that are not adhering to proper processes. If you come upon clear infractions, those must be reported to your club, and in turn the club will report it to the District of which they are a member. Any issues of concern will then be communicated between Districts.
Initially, we developed the schedule based on tight geographic boundaries determined by BCSA and ViaSport. That scheduling was challenging as many cohorts consisted of 3 teams, which meant byes would exist. We received a number of complaints because of this, but we were significantly handcuffed to provide a better experience.
A couple of weeks ago, the geographic constraints were lifted and we adjusted the schedule to remove as many cohorts of three as possible. We were not able to eliminate all of the byes, but we have very few cohorts of three compared to our initial scheduling process.
However, we are now receiving emails informing the league that some teams/clubs are not willing to travel distances for away games. We understand the concern, but outdoor soccer has proven to have minimal transmission of COVID, and would like all teams to participate now that we are back to playing.
We will also continue to make tweaks to the scheduling so that teams that may have been impacted with being in a cohort of 3, may move into a cohort of 4 once we have a break so that a 14 day quarantine can be provided for. We expect any changes to occur during the Xmas break as it relates to any adjustments.
We have seen a drop in registrations because of COVID. As a result, we have teams that are carrying the minimum amount of players. We have previously communicated that this is an exhibition season and all efforts should be made to ensure fair play at the field level, if a team is short players. We will not tolerate the running up of scores and would expect teams to take steps to create competitive balance wherever possible, such as using less players on the field or allowing players to play from one team to play for the other, if one has a larger roster.
Our staff has been working through all of the issues and quite frankly, we feel they have done a tremendous job during these challenging times.
It should be understood that any concerns are to be raised through the clubs and districts, and not direct to the league. We would appreciate it if this protocol is followed, and the direct contact from coaches and parents needs to cease immediately, as emails are overwhelming our staff.
Thanks in advance for your understanding and cooperation as we continue to deal with the existing conditions.
Joe Basic - BCCSL Chair c. BCCSL Board