Thousands of kids sidelined as Surrey soccer club gets red carded

SURREY — One of B.C.’s largest youth soccer clubs, the Surrey-based Central City Breakers, has been suspended from play pending an investigation into charges against the organization’s management team, who are alleged to have broken several of the organization’s bylaws and even indirectly diverted funds to another club.

The suspension was handed down last Friday by the South District Girls’ Soccer Association (SDGSA), the authority that oversees the Breakers’ female players, following a series of complaints against the club, including the improper use of club funds to support the Canadian Eagles, a club that the complaint says is not affiliated with the district or B.C. Soccer.

The suspension means the club cannot register any female players or participate in any B.C. Soccer-sanctioned events.

Surrey Metro Soccer, which oversees the boys who play for the Breakers, has also been notified of the allegations and was expected to issue a statement outlining its position on the case Monday evening, according to a source close to the matter. An estimated 2,800 boys and girls play for Central City Breakers teams.

Details of the allegations are contained in a four-page letter sent to the SDGSA earlier this month by Amar Bains, a member of the Breakers and the former vice-president in charge of equipment. In the letter, Bains claims the club violated four of its own bylaws around with whom the club can be affiliated, timing of the annual general meeting and conflicts of interest.

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Specific attention was paid to the alleged support the Central City Breakers have been providing to the Canadians Eagles FC.

In his letter, Bains claims the two clubs share seven board members and that “monies have been paid” from the Breakers to the Eagles, a violation of club bylaws.

Bains further alleged that:

— Breakers membership fees are being used to pay for field rentals for the Eagles;

— The shared board members are using the Breakers membership date to expand the Eagles membership;

— Breakers management is “making payments” to the Eagles in “direct violation” of the club’s constitution and bylaws.”

“I am asking that both the South District Girls Soccer Association … and the Surrey Metro Soccer Association (SMSA) hold account the CCFC (The Central City Football Club, same as Central City Breakers) for its abuse of power,” Bains wrote.

“If there is no action taken by the districts and B.C. Soccer within a reasonable time, this serious matter will be put forth to the Supreme Court of Canada.”

Bruce McCallum, chair of the girls soccer association, declined to comment on the matter when contacted by The Province, other than to confirm an investigation has been launched into the allegation, which the organization’s website characterized as “grievous.”

While suspended, the club can’t register any female players or participate in any B.C. Soccer-sanctioned events.

Efforts to contact the club Monday were not successful, but a statement posted on its website late Monday said the club has asked the district for specific details of the allegations, as well as a justification for “imposing discipline on the club without first providing details of these apparent complaints or an opportunity to address the allegations.”

“The club believe the district has acted unfairly in this matter and intends to pursue the issue with B.C. Soccer,” the statement read.

“The Club is also considering other avenues of recourse to attempt to rectify this egregious conduct by the district.”

Peter Lonergan, marketing and communications officer with the B.C. Soccer Association, said his organization is monitoring the situation and gathering information.

“These things are always concerning,” he said. “In terms of kids playing, we do our best working with both the district and the clubs to get those kids playing as soon as possible.”

colivier@theprovince.com

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