High-performance community sports group Fusion FC loses legal bid to affiliate with Vancouver Youth Soccer Association

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      Fusion FC doesn't make any secret about its desire for excellence.

      "Formed in 2011, by members of Vancouver FC and Richmond Soccer Association, Fusion FC was created to compete at the highest level of soccer in Canada," it states on its website. "BC Soccer and Vancouver Whitecaps granted Fusion FC ownership as one of the founding eight original BC Soccer Premier League (BCSPL) teams."

      But when the elite Fusion Football Club Soccer Association sought a court order to operate as an affiliated member of the Vancouver Youth Soccer Association, it received the thumbs down from a B.C. Supreme Court judge.

      "I note at the outset that both parties frame their positions in part on what they consider to be the best interests of youth soccer players and their families," Justice Ronald Skolrood wrote in his July 8 decision. "It is not the role of the Court to make that determination and my analysis will therefore be limited to the legal issues arising on the petition."

      He noted that the governing bodies for soccer are the Canadian Soccer Association at the national level and the B.C. Soccer Association at the provincial level.

      Skolrood went on to explain that there are in-club leagues, which involve games between teams with the same club, often involving younger players.

      Inter-district leagues are generally for older players, with games between clubs from different youth districts.

      The highest level is the B.C. Soccer Premier League, which has elite-level youth teams not governed by district soccer associations, even though they're under the supervision of B.C. Soccer.

      The respondent in the court case, the Vancouver Youth Soccer Association, is a district soccer group for Vancouver and the University Endowment Lands. It has seven affiliated clubs in different areas of the city.

      According to the court decision, Fusion FC and one of the Vancouver Youth Soccer Association's members—Vancouver FC Football Clug—discussed a possible merger in 2020. 

      But the Vancouver Youth Soccer Association opposed the amalgamation. That decision was upheld by a B.C. Soccer appeal panel.

      The Vancouver Youth Soccer Association maintained in court that because Fusion FC did not appeal B.C. Soccer's decision to the Canadian Soccer Association, it "amounts to a collateral attack on the administrative processes of BC Soccer".

      Skolrood dismissed this argument, noting in his decision that the association "provided minimal evidence about the CSA's appellate jurisdiction or role".

      Nevertheless, Skolrood still ruled in favour of the Vancouver Youth Soccer Association, noting that there was nothing in the history of VFC or in its relationship with the association to support the "expectations alleged" by Fusion FC.

      As a result, Skolrood concluded that there was nothing "oppressive or unfairly prejudicial" in the Vancouver Youth Soccer Association's decision not to grant Fusion FC's wishes.