Soccer dispute gets ‘ugly’

SURREY – A soccer game came to an abrupt halt in Surrey last Sunday after men were told by police to take their cones and leave.

 

"I’m in charge here today, OK?" a police officer says to a group of men in a video circulating on Facebook last Friday.

 

"So today you will pick up your cones. You will go home. You will make a complaint to the City of Surrey. There’s no signs, you don’t agree with the bylaw, you don’t like the rules. Make the complaint.

 

"But today, today you will go."

 

In the video, the men asked if the rule only applied to the park next to Brookside Elementary school.

 

"It is for all the city parks, sir," said a bylaw officer. "All the soccer fields."

 

Satnam Pawar told the Now on Friday that his family and close friends sometimes play soccer at the field at Brookside Elementary because they can’t all get together during the week.

 

He said they’ve been playing casual games of soccer there for about five years and until last Sunday, they never had an issue.

 

"Sometimes there’s games, soccer clubs organize games there, but we don’t go when they’re there," he said.

 

Pawar said he was surprised when his son told him about the incident and showed him the video.

 

"This is just for our kids and families," he said. "We can’t give a good message to the kids now. They were kicked out of the field by police. My nephew, his son is four-and-a-half years old, he asked if he was going to get arrested out there."

 

Despite that, he said his family will be going back and emphasized they are in no way an organized team.

 

"We don’t even use soccer shoes," he said with a chuckle.

 

Surrey’s bylaw enforcement manager Jas Rehal has seen the video and said there was a "miscommunication."

 

He said organized play requires a permit but families using the park for casual games do not.

 

"There’s no concerns with that.

 

That’s what parks are for," Rehal said Friday.

 

"When there’s an organized sport, if there’s a team playing or soccer practice, they do need a permit for that. One so they can hold the field time and two, we want to make sure the condition of the field stays good."

 

He said situations sometimes arise where there are friends playing soccer and a team shows up with a permit and there is some "controversy" over who has the right to stay.

 

Asked if this particular group should have been allowed to stay, Rehal said: "Yeah, I think what should have happened there is they should have been reminded and told of what the bylaw is. If someone is playing there, then this is what it is. If it was a small group like they said it was then there was no problem with them playing there.

 

"They should have been told that if there’s another team coming they couldn’t be there."

 

Rehal said he will do a "full review" of the incident and will talk with officers about expectations.

 

"I think what happened is a lack of communication on both sides and it got a little ugly."

 

amy.reid@thenownewspaper.com

 

SEE FULL VIDEO ONLINE AT THENOWNEWSPAPER.COM

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