Almost two weeks after being named a host province for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, officials are warning that organized amateur soccer in British Columbia could grind to a halt.
B.C. Soccer Association is preparing for a Canadian Soccer Association suspension after members turned down voting reform at a June 1 special general meeting.
In a June 27 video statement to the soccer community, B.C. Soccer executive director Jason Elligott and president Gayle Statton delivered the doomsday scenario in the wake of rejection of the CSA’s voting equity directive. They are preparing for suspension, but do not know when or how it will happen.
“If it's a sanction against all soccer related activity, that's everything under the sanctioning umbrella of B.C. Soccer and Canada Soccer,” Elligott said.
That would mean cancellation of training, leagues, tournaments, team travel and education for players, coaches and referees across B.C.’s 15 youth districts and 11 adult leagues.
“It could take immediate effect,” Elligott said. “They could also give us notice for weeks or months in order to wrap-up activity. As far as the length of suspension, it would be indefinite, I would imagine, until we address the directive that they're asking us to do.”
Last September, CSA directed B.C. Soccer to update its membership voting system. The national governing body repeated that stance in an April 28 letter from president Nick Bontis, to “maximize the fairness of their voting systems, and that, in the case of B.C. Soccer, the votes between the Youth District Associations and the Adult Leagues will reflect and respect the principles of balanced stakeholder inclusion and fair and democratic representation.”
B.C. is the only outlier province or territory and Statton said it is not an ask, but a mandate.
“On the adult side, when we talk about registered players, which are the only stakeholder group in B.C., we have 15,000 approximately, registered adult players, and 95,000 youth players,” Statton said. “So the voting representation is 50/50. But the stakeholder representation is more like an 85/15. Canada Soccer has directed us to make this change.”
Statton said another meeting would have to be called and a two-thirds majority is needed to pass the amendment.
CSA has not immediately responded for comment.