Vancouver and Richmond senior high school boys soccer coaches are crying foul after the number of teams they were eligible to send to the annual provincial championship was cut back from four to three.
Eight teams, including five public and one private Vancouver school, entered the regional Lower Mainland playoffs on Tuesday afternoon to compete for four berths to Provincials. By that evening, coaches learned they were losing one of those berths because a school from the Kootenays was late to register but would nonetheless be accommodated.
Because the Kootenays school did not register by Oct. 5 when the berths were assigned, the school was not counted or included in the provincial tournament. (The berthing formula considers the total number of school from each region and assigns each on a proportional number of berths to Provincials.)
The Kootenays school appealed to B.C. high school boys soccer association and league commissioner Don Moslin. The executive upheld its request and the school was granted a single berth, which was removed from the Lower Mainland.
The decision has inflamed coaches in this region because, they say, a precedent was set in 2010 when two Vancouver schools were late to register their senior girls soccer teams but no exception was made and they lost one berth to another region.
In an email thread, one West Side coach said the executive is “bending the rules” after a “precedent has already been set.”
A Richmond coach said, “In the past […] we were told that we clearly missed the deadline and that nothing could be resolved as deadlines are in place and all the seeding has been completed based on the numbers at the deadline.
“We need to stand strong on this and vocalize our opinion about this rash decision and double standard.”
Moslin, a teacher in the Nanaimo school district, did not return messages before the Courier’s deadline.
Semi-finals set for Thursday
Four Vancouver schools through to the Lower Mainland senior boys semi-finals entered the playoff tournament believing a top-four finish would qualify them for Provincials.
But now that the Lower Mainland may have lost one berth to the B.C. championships, only three of these four schools will advance — Kitsilano, Vancouver College, Hamber and Lord Byng will battle for three seats.
Kitsilano plays Vancouver College 3:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at Memorial South Park. Lord Byng and Hamber meet at the same time at Camosun Park.