B.C. soccer club hires security after altercations with parents over COVID-19 rules
CHILLIWACK, B.C. -- A youth soccer club in B.C.'s Fraser Valley is raising a yellow card at parents who have been pushing back against COVID-19 rules.
Chilliwack FC chairperson Andrea Laycock said some parents have been voicing their opposition to the new rule of only allowing each player to bring one supporter.
“We've experienced some poor behaviour from our parents, and this past weekend it all came to a head when one of our contact-tracers, who was treated very poorly at the venue, was basically verbally assaulted,” Laycock said.
She said the staff member was taking information for contact-tracing and a parent berated her, causing her to go home in tears.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” Laycock said. “We want the kids on the field playing. And if we exceed (the capacity) or break the rules, we're going to get shut down, and then it serves no purpose.”
In order to ensure all parents co-operate, Laycock said the club has been forced to hire a security company to patrol the games.
“I never thought in 30 years of being with the club that I'd have to call a security company to come down and do periodic checks on little kids’ games,” she said.
Parents received a letter Tuesday night outlining the COVID protocols in "stronger language," which they needed to sign to demonstrate their understanding.
The club warns if parents continue to misbehave and bully staff, they will face a disciplinary board and could risk being suspended or expelled from watching their kids play.
“This isn't a joke for us. Like, we take it seriously,” Laycock said. “Bringing a security company sends the message that we're done playing around and the people that have been ruining it for everybody, they're on notice.”
Parent Nichole Dill has been watching her daughter’s games from behind the fence.
She said she’d rather be watching on the bleachers with her family, but respects the new rules.
“At least one person gets to come and watch the kids play, unlike parents of hockey, they can't even go and watch their kids play. So, we're pretty lucky there,” Dill said.
She said she was concerned when she received the message from Chilliwack FC and worried that soccer may get cancelled if parents continue to ignore the rules.
“I was shocked, disgusted and sad all at the same time,” Dill said. “I think it's just wrong. You’ve got to set an example for your kids.”
Laycock said there are no plans to ban parents from watching the game, but added it isn’t out of the question.
“It is quite possible that we have to take that next extreme step of shutting it down to the parents and nobody wants to do that,” she said.
For now, Laycock said parents are being given this warning before the club hands out any red cards.