For the past two months, we’ve been trying to find out what the position of the Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association (NLSA) is on supporting growth of senior soccer outside the Eastern region? From Western United’s perspective, there is a significant inequity that NLSA does not care to correct.
From the start, our west coast Challenge Cup team requested to play a shortened schedule (same arrangement as last season) because we are required to incur exorbitantly more travel time and costs than any other team. However, we were told this was not an option, and that we would be forced to play the entire season, or not at all. Not deterred by the setback, the local committee was determined to pull together and make every effort to complete the entire season.
In recent weeks soccer in the Western region was attacked by NLSA senior VP Gord Dunphy and Telegram sports reporter John Browne, through two separate articles. This borderline slander arose from our team’s inability, through circumstances beyond our control, to make the last two scheduled games. Although we provided ample notice, NLSA refused to reschedule the games. Interesting enough, NLSA had earlier allowed a schedule change for two East Coast teams.
NLSA VP Dunphy responded by threatening to have us banned from the league. Mr. Dunphy then breached all professionalism, slandering West Coast soccer in an interview with John Browne of the Telegram without giving all the facts. For some strange reason, John Browne didn’t contact us for our side of the story when he published these articles. Further, NLSA posted on their web site that we had withdrawn from the league and it took two requests from the Western representative to have this error corrected.
Subsequent to the Executive and Board meetings, we received a letter from NLSA apologizing for the web site mix-up but made no apology for the attack by VP Dunphy. This only leaves us to believe they are supporters of this behaviour.
A Komodo dragon is known for eating its young. Given that Western is a young entry in the league; I’d hate to think the NLSA is trying to do the same as we try to foster growth here on the west coast.
Finally, we thought good journalism involved getting both sides of the story. To John Browne; it is unfortunate that we had to contact you before you wrote a third and more representative article. We were always available, so you could have verified your facts.
Chairperson, Western United FC