Friday, February 04, 2011

CSA Governance Meeting - aka Groundhog Day

The time is nigh. In less than 48 hours the face of Canadian soccer will be changed forever. The fate of the very game itself rests in the hands of the mind trust that will be gathering in Ottawa for the Canadian Soccer Association's Special General Meeting to vote on governance renewal.

Well except of course it doesn't and won't.

Call me cynical but anyone expecting dramatic changes and insightful decisions from this group of individuals obviously has not been paying attention for the past thirty years. Going back even a few years (pdf of December 2008 article) shows that with the same people asked to make the same decisions we are unlikely to get a different result.

However, just to review here is what is on the agenda this weekend:

The first is a motion to adopt the bylaws that implement the 2010 CSA AGM governance framework.

The second is a motion to adopt the bylaws of a compromise framework, for implementation in 2011.

The third is a motion to adopt the bylaws of the same compromise framework, with an implementation date of 2012.

These three motions will be considered in turn, with the 2010 AGM framework discussed and voted upon first, the 2011 compromise framework second, and the 2012 compromise framework third. The first motion that receives a two-thirds majority vote will be passed, and the voting will end. If the 2010 AGM framework gets a two-thirds majority, we will all go home. If not, we will move on to the second motion, then the third.

If no motion receives a two-thirds majority, then we maintain the status quo and there will be no renewal.

Jason de Vos over at CBC Sports has done an excellent job of outlining the process and what exactly each option might mean for the game:

Governance of Canadian soccer about to change

Change on the horizon for Canadian soccer

Q&A: Canadian soccer governance renewal

and our old friend Ben Knight has attempted to get a read on how the different Provincial Associations are leaning with their votes:

Time to count the votes

Waiting to see what Ontario does

British Columbia on governance reform

and then just to put a little more spin on the dice the whole Alberta Soccer Association soap opera continues to play in the background. Herein lies, I believe, the best clue of how things are likely to go at this weekend's meeting despite the hopes of all of us outside the process.

The governance of the game in this country is in turmoil and has been for some time - it's an ineffective, bureaucratic, conflict-ridden structure full of folks who are willing to do anything to cling to the status quo and who are desperate to retain their hold on positions of power.

Does this sound like a group who is likely to suddenly see the light and do what is best for the future development of the game here in Canada?

Already the Associations who have tipped their hands are making a resolution to the issue look doubtful - Ontario has said it's an all or nothing thing on proposal one while BC has said they are very much in favour of option two and no one is sure where Quebec or current squeaky wheel Alberta will come down. Ultimately the decision rests within this group and they seem unlikely to set aside petty regional rivalries to arrive at a common sense solution.

The biggest challenge is that the people voting this weekend face a rather large hurdle in making the right decision - themselves. They have to put the game - or at least a vision of the national game - ahead of all that that puts them in a position to vote in the first place. This seems unlikely and doubly difficult because on top of everything else that is missing in the game in this country another is a vision, national in scope of what the game is and what it could be.

The reality is if Ontario sticks to their guns and says it's all or nothing on option one - which is the right option - then the meeting is doomed from the start. Then like a groundhog seeing his shadow the delegates will scuttle back into the holes from whence they came and we're in for a much longer self inflicted "nuclear" winter for the game up here in the frozen north.


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