B.C. soccer team sidelined over 'import' player rule
Published Wednesday, August 15, 2012 8:15AM EDT
A Surrey, B.C. recreational soccer team has been sidelined following complaints that the team of young boys is too racially diverse.
The B.C. Tigers, a squad for boys under the age of 13,has been barred from tournament play because its roster has too many players who aren’t Indo-Canadians.
Regulations set out by the Indo Canadian Summer Soccer Association state that up to four non-South Asians or “import players” can play for a boys’ U13 or U14 team.
The Tigers had just won a semifinals game in June when a coach for the losing team complained that the squad had more than four non-Indo Canadian players.
Debbie Christiansen’s son Blake was among the non-Indo Canadian players who were cited as the reason for the disqualification.
She speculates that, “if it was the other way around, there would be outrage. It just wouldn’t happen.”
The Indo Canadian Summer Soccer Association, which has grown to include more than 400 teams, was created to promote sport and culture among Indo-Canadian youth.
Lawyer David Eby of the BC Civil Liberties Association says the province’s Human Rights Code allows organizations that provide services to individual races and religions to discriminate if their main purpose is to promote their own particular group.
The Canadian Football League, for instance, has a rule requiring a certain number of players on each team to be Canadian. Each team is permitted a maximum of 42 players. Three are quarterbacks and no restrictions apply. Of the remaining 39, no more than 19 are allowed to be “import” players.
Sim Sumra, president of the Indo-Canadian Summer Soccer Association, issued a statement on behalf of the league earlier this week.
In the note, he said the “import” rule would be up for review this winter but added “we as a board remain committed to the spirit of the intent of the league.”
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s St. John Alexander