Late in June Ontario Soccer’s Discipline & Appeals Panel held a disciplinary panel to review a serious charge of misconduct against seven clubs: West Ottawa SC, Ottawa South United, Cumberland SC, Ottawa City, Ottawa Internationals, Capital United and the Ottawa Gloucester SC. The charge contended the direct or indirect establishment on an unsanctioned soccer organization or competition (Misconduct Type 5.75). All seven clubs were found not guilty and face no sanctions.
The charged stemmed from a complaint sent to the EODSA in March over the establishment of the OPDP. The complaint contended that the previously mentioned clubs started an unsanctioned league by removing all Tier 1 teams from the ERSL and into the OPDP. In March 2017 there was substantial goodwill amongst the clubs and the ERSL to establish a league format to support the OPDP structure and principles. However, the ERSL was unable to support the desired format.
Upon the breakdown of a league format through the ERSL with the EODSA, the clubs decided to play exhibition games amongst themselves. Exhibition games are permitted through EODSA rules, so long as the clubs follow the appropriate procedures for play and submit gamesheets.
The panel found that the original intention for the OPDP was not to contravene the EODSA or Ontario Soccer rules governing leagues. They found there was a reasonable amount of goodwill even after the ERSL failed to accommodate the OPDP format with the volunteers from clubs willing to help structure a schedule.
OPDP clubs chose to follow the rules established by the EODSA to run exhibition games rather than seek league status. During the hearing, the EODSA stated the competitions taking place are sanctioned as exhibition games.
In the end Ontario Soccer’s Discipline & Appeals Panel found the accused clubs not guilty of section 5.75 and provided several recommendations to support the continuation of the OPDP. All clubs are reviewing those recommendations in preparation for future operations.
To read the full decision, please click here to visit the EODSA.