Members of Chilliwack FC’s premier women’s team put this patch on their jersey to recognize the LGBTQI2S+ and BIPOC communities. (Submitted photo)

Members of Chilliwack FC’s premier women’s team put this patch on their jersey to recognize the LGBTQI2S+ and BIPOC communities. (Submitted photo)

B.C. women’s soccer team penalized by club for putting LGBTQI2S+ patch on jerseys

The Chilliwack FC board didn’t approve patches recognizing the LGBTQI2S+ and BIPOC communities

A jersey patch has created controversy within Chilliwack FC.

Members of CFC’s women’s premier team say the youth soccer club has punished them for wearing an LGBTQI2S+ and BIPOC symbol on their uniform.

LGBTQI2S+ is a term that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or questioning), intersex, and two-spirit and BIPOC stands for black, Indigenous and people of colour.

The team’s players wanted to show support for marginalized, underrepresented groups and met with the CFC board to present the idea. According to Brandon Lupton, a team supporter and partner to one of the players, the club expressed concern that the suggested patch could be negatively received and suggested that “Chilliwack isn’t ready.”

CFC chairperson Andrea Laycock said the conversation was more nuanced than that.

She said that while the board expressed support for the concepts of inclusivity and diversity, they felt a CFC jersey wasn’t the right place to make a political statement.

CFC’s adult liasion, Richard Tagle, said that following the initial meeting, his daughter Megan Tagle and three players from the women’s team worked to come up with an alternative. They produced three words, ‘Respect for ALL,’ which could be used on jerseys, used as a #hashtag on Twitter, and utilized in other ways.

“Three players had a long discussion with Megan and I,” Tagle said. “After that meeting, I met with the three plus the captain of the Div 1 team to discuss the proposal. The five of us came to an agreement to begin with “Respect for ALL” on the jersey, and the three would begin an educational video program on our website and social media to take steps to move towards an symbol to be placed on the jersey.

“At no time were we in disagreement with a symbol, but solely on the speed at which we would proceed. Again, all five were in agreement and I took that back to the board for approval.”

Laycock thought it was a “good first step,” and CFC planned to have the words on 1,200 jerseys in the association.

They still do.

But in the end the women’s players weren’t satisfied and didn’t think the alternative went as far as they wanted. They opted to wear their preferred option on the sleeve of their jerseys.

That decision had immediate consequences.

“After just one game, complaints from a bystander made their way to the chairperson of Chilliwack FC (Andrea Laycock),” Lupton explained. “Forty eight hours after the team’s first game, they received an email stating that the board requested a meeting with them to discuss disciplinary action for the embellishment of the uniform.”

READ MORE: Gay, bisexual teens half as likely as straight teens to play sports: UBC study

READ MORE: Chilliwack FC hands out player awards virtually

A few days after the meeting, Lupton said three players received a two-game suspension and a warning of further discipline (longer suspension, or revoking of membership) if the misconduct continued.

The players appealed the ruling on the grounds of unfair and excessive disciplinary action, offering to accept a one game suspension.

Their appeal was denied.

Laycock said the players would have run afoul of the board putting anything on their jerseys, and the two-game suspension was upheld because their attempt to circumvent the wishes of the CFC board was “deliberate and premeditated.”

She said nothing would have been done if the patch had appeared on hoodies or track pants or shoes.

“But our policy is pretty clear that nothing goes on the jerseys without board approval,” she said. “We are open to changing that, but it has to fall in line with our policies and our mandate of having kids on the field playing soccer. It’s not that the board doesn’t support the idea of having a patch or a flag, but we have to be mindful of how we approach it and respect the community.

“It’s not incumbent on the executive to impose our political and personal beliefs on the membership. We have to be mindful of everybody’s needs.”

Tagle said CFC had no issue with the symbol itself, beyond its presence on the jerseys.

“The symbol could have been advertising for Chilliwack Ford or a cross or anything and we would have had the same issue,” he noted. “What is placed on the jersey, including colours, is solely the board’s decision. This is to prevent symbols of hate, religion, adverts, etc. being placed on the jersey.

“This has nothing to do with what this particular symbol represents.”

Lupton said the advocate players requested that the uniform policy be changed, with a policy amendment proposal submitted to include wearing symbols supporting social justice and commemoration, for example.

“This request has not yet been acknowledged by Chilliwack FC executive board,” he noted.

Lupton said the situation is particularly frustrating with professional sport leagues such as the NCAA, NBA, and NFL supporting the use of patches and stickers related to social justice issues.

“A community soccer club’s decision to punish players for showing support for statements that align with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and genuine human inclusion is unacceptable,” Lupton said. “The unprofessional handling and conduct of this issue by the Chilliwack FC board is appalling and needs to be acknowledged to create change.”

Laycock said CFC board felt strongly that ‘Respect for ALL’ would get a conversation started, and the board stands by their choice.

“The words can represent LGBTQI2S+ and BIPOC, but they can also be applied to 101 things like respect for your opponents, your teammates, officials, your community,” Laycock said. “We felt it was a good first step and an opportunity to grow and educate as we continue.”


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

LGBTQsoccer

Just Posted

Soccer games returned to Max Turyk in Fernie this May and June, after a year-long break due to COVID. (Contributed by Yori Jamin)
Fernie kids get stuck into soccer

Youth soccer games returned to Max Turyk for May and June after a year-long break

A small scale example of how big the maximus dinosaur is compared to Sparwood's Titan truck. (Image courtesy of District of Sparwood)
Sparwood goes digging for fossils (maybe)

The district is exploring options that could see it acquire a giant dinosaur skeleton

Pride and Transgender flags wave on the lawn of Fernie's City Hall. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)
Fernie Pride launches inclusivity survey

The survey will help identify gaps in supports for the LGBTQ2+ community in the Elk Valley

The freshly re-painted rainbow crossings in Fernie in 2021. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Rainbow crossings come to Fernie

Volunteers painted the crossings at 3rd Ave and 5th Street in Fernie in pride colours

Coal Creek and forested land near Fernie, B.C. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Elk Valley Regional Land Trust inks deal with Community Foundation of Kootenay Rockies

Donations to the trusts project to secure forested land in the Elk Valley can now be made through the CFKR

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Grace (left), a caribou that was born in a maternal pen north of Revelstoke, is alive and well said the province. It appears she even has a calf. Maternity pens aim to increase caribou calf survival by protecting them from predation until they are older and less vulnerable. (Contributed)
For the first time in years, caribou numbers increasing near Revelstoke

North herd growing but south herd still concerning

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Kelowna General Hospital. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna General Hospital declared over

Three people tested positive for the virus — two patients and one staff — one of whom died

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

Most Read