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OSA Board taking stock, moving ahead
The Board of The Ontario Soccer Association undertook important deliberations and made some significant decisions over the weekend of December 6-8, 2013. While not everyone in the soccer community will be satisfied or pleased with all the decisions rendered, it’s important that we communicate the outcomes with you directly.
Board renewal – Call to action!
You may recall that, in a previous message, I outlined plans for a Board retreat that would consider the question of governance renewal. At that retreat this past weekend, respected sport leaders from across Canada were brought in to meet with the Board to share, discuss and communicate their experiences regarding examples of successful sport governance models. On the heels of these discussions, the Board agreed to take the next steps in the process to review and modernize our governance model in the months ahead. There is much work to be done, but this is a significant “call to action” that demonstrates the Board, as a whole, recognizes there is indeed a need for governance change.
Our goal is to ensure that roles and responsibility, accountability, transparency and genuine inclusiveness are the pillars of our approach to governance. As a Board, we need to demonstrate the kind of responsiveness that all of our stakeholders want—and deserve. We have now taken that crucial step.
Re-assessing OPDL decisions regarding some OSA member Clubs
At the formal Board meeting of December 8, the Board also reviewed two recent decisions that relate to the Ontario Player Development League (OPDL). Two longstanding OSA member Clubs, the Pickering Soccer Club and the Oakville Soccer Club, applied for entry into the OPDL this past summer but their applications were not accepted by the independent special selection committee. Since that time, both Clubs launched an appeal, as is their right, to the Canadian Soccer Association.
While neither Club was given “leave to appeal” by the CSA, the OSA Board, in the interests of ensuring that our processes were properly followed, reviewed those earlier decisions. The Board upheld its earlier decision regarding the Oakville Soccer Club. However, it also determined that because of certain communication issues that arose during the process specifically relating to the Pickering club submission, it would support the Pickering Soccer Club’s application because of the unique circumstances involved.
The Board once again studied the question of OSA-Recognized Non-Club Academy (ORNCA) teams being eligible for the OPDL. There was not sufficient support at this time to endorse the staff recommendation of the OPDL selection committee’s decision regarding the Bryst Academy, who had met the standards established by the selection committee.
Importantly, however, the RFD was withdrawn for now with a commitment from the Board to launch an extensive review regarding our relationship with Academies that are part of ORNCA.
The Board has committed to work toward ensuring that all Academies that meet OSA requirements/standards can in fact be eligible to become full members of the Association. For now, while some restrictions will remain in place, eligible Academies will continue to receive earlier agreed-upon benefits and entitlements as part of ORNCA membership.
In addition to being allowed to play in the OSL and OWSL, Academies are now eligible to participate in League1 play as well. Academy players are also eligible for Regional and Provincial team selection. Some progress has been made.
My personal commitment is to continue to work to ensure that our relationship with Ontario Academies progresses for the betterment of all. My views as President of the Association are as before: I believe Academies and many other soccer entities play a vital role in the development of players, coaches and referees in this Province and I look forward to the day when they share fully in the rights and privileges of OSA membership. In the same breath, I understand that this is part of a significant culture change for many in the soccer community and recognize that it will take time to achieve the harmony and unity that would be so healthy for the game we all love.
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"Coming together is a beginning.
Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success."