Bob Young isn’t happy.
The publicity shy owner of Forge FC took to Social Media on Saturday to complain about the date of the Canadian Championship final for the Voyageurs Cup. After months without conformation, it came out late last week that the game will be played on March 20.
As I wrote last week, this date was always the most likely. Both clubs would have understood that this was a possible time that this game was happening, yet only one of the two had started to train for the game.
Spoiler: That team isn’t Forge, thus Young’s frustration on the date. He wants the game moved forward to April 3 to give Forge two more weeks of training time.
On the surface, this seems fair. After all, the reason the game must happen this early in the year is because the winner qualifies to the Concacaf Champions League, which starts on April 6.
Without that need, this game could have been held off until there were fans allowed back in. That would have been a nice little treat for everyone that’s sick of this stupid pandemic, which is everyone.
But, that need is real so here we are. The question is whether Young’s request is reasonable and if Forge should be accommodated.
To answer that question you need to ask yourself how much you care about Canada’s Olympic qualifying efforts. You see, the date that Young is proposing would put the participation of multiple players in jeopardy.
Why would the CSA do that?
Club over country is a legitimate position for a fan to take, even here in Canada, but it isn’t for the governing body of the sport. No, they need to do what’s in the best in interest of the national teams and that’s why the game is taking place on March 20.
Does that make it easy on Forge? No, but it’s unclear whether Forge did all that it could to make it easier on themselves. They claim that they only just received* permission to train despite asking for an exception from the government (COVID restrictions are in place, but professional leagues can get exceptions) in October. If true, that sucks, but I question why they weren’t more strongly lobbying to make it so. I’m pretty sure Bob Young can get the right people on the phone and, as stated, they knew this date was a possibility all along.
This is not to say that the CSA couldn’t have done a better job here. The game should have been played last fall. That would have required that it be played in the United States – and a few disgruntled, perspective-lacking people would have complained about that – but WHO CARES? It’s a global pandemic. You do what you have to do.
It’s almost as if they thought/hoped that Forge would qualify for the CCL through the Concacaf League and save them the headache of having to schedule this game…
Regardless, you can throw blame around all you want, but, really, it’s just a crappy circumstance brought on by the pandemic. Forge were massive underdogs anyway. The unfortunate circumstances aren’t likely to change much. The reason Forge isn’t going to be in the Champions League is because of a keeping error against a Haitian team, not a grand conspiracy by the CSA and TFC to keep them out.
I appreciate Young’s passion for his team (although if he really wants to help the players then he could recognize the player’s union), but his anger is misguided here. It sucks, but now isn’t the time to be lobbing grenades at the CSA. It’s time to recognize that this is a very challenging circumstance for everyone and to just get on with it.
*In a Tweet, Forge said that they have not yet received permission to train, which contradicts this line from the linked CP article: