Posted 3/26/2021 Ref # 95

BCSA and Return to Play

Thanks to BC Soccer for pushing this forward.

VIA EMAIL March 25, 2021 
Attention: BC Soccer Full/Associate Members and Affiliated Soccer Clubs 
From: Jason Elligott, BC Soccer Executive Director and Gayle Statton, BC Soccer President 
Re: Supporting soccer to safely return Dear Full/Associate Members and Affiliated Clubs, 

We regularly and repeatedly receive requests from members, affiliated clubs, and individuals from the wider soccer community asking what BC Soccer is doing to support soccer and get us all back to playing the game we love. As we have expressed, we continue to strongly advocate for soccer through our ongoing dialogue with ViaSport, the link between the BC Health Authority and the BC Sport Sector. This has been a constant over the last 12 months. Even with this dialogue, we continue to have no indication on when changes may come. Much of our advocating is done behind the scenes, however, today we wanted to share with the BC Soccer members and affiliated clubs the letter we sent to the attention of Dr. Bonnie Henry and the Hon. Adrian Dix. 
The letter is appended to this memo on the following pages. -End-

CC: Charlene Krepiakevich, CEO, ViaSport British Columbia
BC Soccer Board of Directors and Staff

March 25, 2021
Attention: Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer
Hon. Adrian Dix, Minister of Health
The BC Provincial Health Office
From: Jason Elligott, BC Soccer Executive Director and Gayle Statton, BC Soccer President
CC: Hon. John Horgan, Premier
Hon. Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport
Charlene Krepiakevich, CEO, ViaSport British Columbia
BC Soccer Board of Directors and Staff
BC Soccer Members and Affiliated Clubs

Re: Request of support for soccer to return safely

Dear: Dr. Bonnie Henry and Hon. Adrian Dix On behalf of our membership and BC Soccer, we would like to strongly request the removal of the continuing restrictions that prevent children and young adults from playing soccer.
We have respectfully complied with all PHO guidelines and restrictions, provided through ViaSport, and continually communicated with our soccer members throughout the province. We are proud of our membership and the responses and patience they have all provided over the last 12 months, which has not been easy.
Today, we still find our sport under heavy restrictions and we simply do not understand why. It would be beneficial to have easy to understand and credible data and evidence to suggest there is any risk of transmission on outdoor soccer fields throughout BC.
We are not experts in this field; however, we continue to review information and studies that come available on transmission among sports. There have been numerous studies on this subject among both amateur and professional athletes showing a low risk of transmission. Some of those studies are provided below and there seems to be the general consensus that there is no scientific justification for restrictions in the overwhelming majority of youth sports (including contact sports), and especially in cases where those sports are played outdoors.
Further, what is concerning is the inconsistency between restricted activities. Namely, children attending school, indoors, and the ability of those children to play outside in groups during recess and lunch hour which (thankfully) has been occurring since late Spring of 2020, and we have yet to see evidence that it’s creating “high risk” or high transmission events. In fact, the PHO has continuously stated that schools remain very low risk.

We’ve also noted that the WHL has recently received approval to return to play with strict safety plans, and we expect other hockey leagues may soon also follow suit. This is indoor activity, with close contact, who (from what we understand) are doing so without full endorsement from the governing bodies in order to expedite a return to play.
The above creates a worrisome situation for our Association, as we may now face the prospects of our members and associates, stepping outside of our (and by extension ViaSport) guidance and recommendations, seeking their own “special circumstances”.
We have asked repeatedly for credible data and information, that outdoor sport leads to transmissions, and have yet to receive any. Despite our membership being made up largely of non-profit organizations, those organizations that provide soccer programming are hurting, to the point of potentially being out of business because of these seemingly never-ending restrictions, with no indication of full resumption timelines. This point also only speaks to the organizational level; yes, we are a soccer association supporting members and clubs, but we (as a collective soccer community) are in the people industry and our people (the participants, coaches, referees, volunteers, and others) are all suffering.
If things continue as they are, BC Soccer will be put into an even more difficult position where we have to quell the heightening anger and confusion from our members (and the wider soccer community), while continuing to follow guidelines which we simply do not believe in anymore.
It’s now been a year of restrictions of one degree or another, and nobody can plan for the next month, or two months, or longer, for what will be a critically important factor in repairing the social, emotional, physical and mental damage these restrictions have caused young people. We all know sports will play a leading role in returning to normalcy.
However, it seems as though the PHO, continues to further a health risk narrative that pertains to outdoor sports, which leaves the impression that the restrictions are arbitrary, and punishing the wrong group of people.
Our Request
BC Soccer strongly requests that the Provincial Health Office, in partnership with ViaSport, immediately allow for soccer to be (at a minimum) where it was in the Fall of 2020 with a go forward plan to further remove all restrictions over the next few months.

Studies & Supporting Information
Interestingly, in March 2021, the lead researcher in the above study is further quoted in a Post Media article: “In terms of truly documented transmission between athletes during participation, I’m not aware of anything,” says Dr. Drew Watson, lead author on three University of Wisconsin studies that investigated COVID-19 risks in sports, and senior author on three other UW studies on the mental-health effects of sports shutdowns. I know researchers who are struggling to find even a single case among outdoor-sports participants, in particular.”

Scientific Studies of Youth Soccer Show Low (or No) Risk to Players, October 2020
SARS-CoV-2 transmission during rugby league matches: do players become infected after participating with SARS-CoV-2 positive players?, February 2021
Study: No link between high school sports and COVID-19 transmission, November 2020

Jason Elligott   Executive Director BC Soccer
Gayle Statton  President BC Soccer 

Posted 1/1/2021 Ref # 94

2021 VISL Cup Play

Happy New Year VISL members ! 
2021 has to be better, fingers crossed it will be, and we can get back on the field and continue to be safe.
Here are all the Cup Brackets.
We will do a live draw via our Facebook Page on Sat Jan 2 starting at 3 pm.

Sir John Jackson Cup - Est 1915 

Tony Grover Masters Cup Est 2000

George Pearkes Challenge Cup - Est 1983

George Smith U21 Cup - Est 2000

Div 4 Playoff - Est 1945  

We plan to update these brackets Saturday January 2 as the draw happens.

Good luck to all teams!

Posted 12/16/2020 Ref # 93

Merry Xmas, Cup Play, 2021 Return to Play

2020 was and continues to be a challenging year.
Overall, it has been quite impressive as to how all the membership has dealt with many obstacles and changes in order for us to get on the field.
There will be a league wide team admin coming out soon, keep your eyes peeled for it.
It will talk about the upcoming Cup draw we plan to do on Saturday Jan 2/2021. 
We ask for teams to declare entry into Cup play for this current season. (Declare by Thursday Dec 24/2020)
If we are permitted to return to play, we plan on getting Cup play integrated with league play where possible.

Business aside, hopefully many are able to spend time with families and enjoy the break.

Santa fired us a message in advance of Xmas as many of us were not able to go visit him this year.
Hopefully it comes through and you are able to watch it.

Merry Xmas and happy New Year !!

Vince Greco
VISL Executive Director

Posted 12/4/2020 Ref # 92

Cees Van Delft

Cees passed away unexpectedly at age 67 at the Cardiac Care unit of the Jubilee Hospital. Cees was born in Wormerveer, The Netherlands. He moved to Victoria at 22 to work as a watch/clock repairman. Soccer was a life long activity for Cees. We were so fortunate to have him in our lives.

He joined the Oak Bay Soccer Club as a player and helped run the clubhouse, then the Gorge Soccer Club mostly with the Gorge Old Timers.  Cees was a former VISL board member and served for many years.  Cees was also a long time employee of Bartle & Gibson.
During his tenure as Director, He was the Registrar before it was so computer driven. Cees worked tirelessly for the game and there was no task that was too small that he did not volunteer for.  He was thorough in his actions when it came to dealing with investigating questionable events/occurrences within the VISL. For this, he earned the title of the "Inspector".  A classic Cees story is the efforts he went through to ensure that the truth came out when a team claimed that the roads were so bad that they could not travel to play a game up island.  Rumour had it that the team was short of players and trying to get out of a forfeit.  But Cees was on the case and contacted the Canadian Weather Bureau and the local RCMP detachments for reports on road condition only to discover that there was not issues with snow or any other condition that would make the roads unsafe to travel on.   And then there was the time that a team claimed a flat tire……….
Cees was always involved in setting up events like our local Allstar games and BC Soccer Provincial Cups. He just enjoyed the fun and banter - he was our leader for the Signs Committee......mostly because he was one of the few guys that didn't whine about the job, and just got it done. 
Cees continued to volunteer for VISL events;  even after stepping back as a Director.  He also volunteered as a driver for the U19 Women’s World Cup and later the U20 Men’s World Cup events hosted in Victoria and even took a week off work for each of those events.
Never one to self promote or take the spotlight, just a damn good guy that everybody liked.

Cees is survived by his wife Debbie, his children Dries (Katie) and Mieke, granddaughters Alena and Zoey. To the health workers who supported Cees, and many friends supporting the family at this difficult time, heartfelt thanks. No service at this time.

Posted 11/20/2020 Ref # 90

November 20/2020 UPDATE

All VISL Membership (players and team admin)

The past 19 hours have been interesting, and difficult to navigate through, but we are pretty close to having a temporary resolve.
As you all probably know, there were some Provincial Orders put in place as of midnight last night, so we are working through all the changes. There has been some challenges with some of the wording, so we are making decisions on what we feel is safest for membership - while staying within the guidelines.
We will continue on with the season as has been authorized by the Medical Professionals of the Province as well as our governing body ViaSport. (and BC Soccer)

What will change for us all is travel. Effective immediately, we will be postponing games that require the longer distance travel.
That has been very subjective in the recent announcements, so what we will do as a League - try to stay within communities as much as possible. That statement is very subjective as well and there are many versions of what "communities" is, so we will error on the side of caution and update the website as needed. There has been many changes already, apologies if your phone was not on mute and you received the notifications early this morning/late last night
Please check out the website and see the changes, there has been quite a few. Team admin, let me know if you see something that is out of the normal. (like revised game times/venues etc)

So while we are staying within communities as per recommendations from the authorities, we still concede that some players/teams may not feel comfortable in playing. You all will need to make that decision. If a game is posted as active and ready to play, we would expect the game to go on as scheduled. Should your team not feel comfortable in playing, please send me an email. As a group, we will listen to your concerns and make a determination as to the outcome. On a regular community game, 3 points will be assessed regardless. Everything after that will be looked at on a case by case basis. Please remember though, there are others involved and plenty of other aspects involved in organizing a game. (Referees, fields etc)

As we move forward, there are a couple other things we need to highlight from the presser yesterday, adding in the communication I sent out earlier this week.

1)Masks - wear them on the sidelines. Is simple, just wear them.

2)Fans - none at all. Permit holders for games, sorry, but you need to be active here. 
Lets help control the spread as this has been specifically noted as an area of concern. 
Before we get shut down, let these people (and your family and friends) know that they should not be at the game as a spectator.
If I am at a game, I will make sure to let people know. If bylaw enforcement needs to be called, so be it. It is tough not to be at games, but we want them to at least go on - safely and responsibly. I will be working some and try to share updates whenever I can. I will also share updates when they are sent in. We also have a fabulous photographer who has been working games.......that is all we can do right now.

3)Team Lists and Contract Tracing:
I hope the team admin understand how important this is.  
Besides printing out a team list that is specific to your game (so not using a generic one) from the website, away teams MUST supply the home team an email listing of attending team members and personnel. This can be given to the ref to hand over with the regular team list or you can give to the home team. If this does not happen, teams will be sanctioned. If it happens again, the VISL Board will need to look at removing teams from participating. It is that serious. Please note, this is not meant to be a threat of any sort. If we want to see games being played, we must do so carefully and responsibly. These must be kept for minimum 30 days by the home team. Home team - if you do not get this at the beginning of the game, go see the other team admin.....with your mask on. 
I will be following up with home teams on occasion to see this is happening.

4)Team Bench and technical area - I have told referees to ensure this area is kept clear. Team members (registered and with ID Cards) only. It is also the responsibility of the teams to tell those unauthorized people to remove themselves. We as a League do not want to get more involved here and make more rules, just please keep it clear.

5)Changerooms - none to be used at all. Arrive dressed or get changed there. This is a non negotiable part of the return to play.

6)Gathering post game:
Sorry, chalk talk and assessing the positives & negatives of the game, and how awesome a certain goal was just cannot happen.
Absolutely no coolers/pints and watching games.  Sad, but we MUST follow that directive.

I think that is about it for now, stay safe and good luck with everything.

Vince Greco
VISL Executive Director