Richmond-based TSS soccer academy has filed a lawsuit against the game's provincial governing body BC Soccer.
TSS, headquartered at Sportstown on No. 5 Road at Alderbridge Way, and its parent company Sportstown launched the suit last week claiming unfair treatment from BC Soccer over a number of years has, and still is, detrimental to its business operations.
The notice of claim alleges that BC Soccer is not truly the non-profit organization it claims to be and has entered into a business relationship with the Vancouver Whitecaps, a for-profit company, regarding the 50-50 draw at Whitecaps home games.
It further claims that BCSA has contradicted itself by penalizing TSS over the years for being a for-profit organization, in particular not allowing it full membership to the provincial organization.
Without such membership, TSS Academy players are not eligible for provincial team selection.
TSS Academy director Colin Elmes told the Province newspaper that the people running BC Soccer are behind the times.
"There is a desire on the part of people who run and work for these types of organizations to have pretty well unlimited control over the game," Elmes told The Province on Monday.
He described TSS's relationship with BCSA as "a quasi-membership."
"If they had their druthers, we would not even have that."
Elmes said the business of soccer has changed drastically.
"There's a lot of money in the game now. Parents are paying a lot to have their kids play at a high level, and people are earning good wages to run the game," he said. "We're saying, 'Stop pre-tending it's five years ago.'"
TSS has been in business since 1997. Hundreds of boys and girls aged seven to 16 undergo elite training seven months of the year and participate in team competition for five months.
Elmes said lawyers have advised him that the relationship between the Whitecaps and the BCSA regarding the 50-50 draw "smacks of a commercial preference."
He claims the BCSA should not have entered into the relationship with the Major League Soccer team, which also operates various levels of boys and girls teams, similar to many professional teams in Europe.
The feud goes back to before 2006, when TSS sued BC Soccer to allow its teams to participate in tournaments in the U.S.
With a file from the Province
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