© Copyright – 2016 – Victoria Sports News
As widely reported, Coach Manuel Achadinha of the Lakehill Soccer Association was suspended for one year due to his on-field conduct with a youth referee. He coaches one of the Lakehill Soccer Club’s U-14 boy’s teams.
The incident took place October 23rd during a game between the Saanich Fusion and Lakehill at Lochside Turf.
The disciplinary panel, which included BC Soccer Discipline Committee member Vince Greco, who is also the president of the Vancouver Island Soccer League did not feel that Achadinha’s intentions were violent or meant as a threat.
“To confirm – this incident was not handled by the VISL, even though I am the VISL President, I was acting in my role of BC Soccer Discipline Committee member,” Said Greco. “I was asked on behalf of BC Soccer to Chair a meeting for the accused.”
“The panel feels that Achadinha’s actions were not violent in nature.”
When determining an appropriate sanction, the discipline panel considered all mitigating factors including his work in the community, and the letters of reference the panel received at his hearing.
“The guy puts in a ton of time towards kids and helping to coach,” shared Greco.
Although there is no excuse for what he did, the panel felt that Achadinha is a very dedicated soccer person and simply made a one-time mistake.
“It’s pretty clear he is passionate and overall his heart is in the right place.”
Although Achadinha is suspended for 12 months, he does have the right to appeal the decision with the national governing body, the Canadian Soccer Association.
Competitive sports can be stressful for many stakeholders including coaches, managers, volunteers, players, spectators and parents, not just in soccer but in other sports like hockey and baseball as well.
For example the Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association now requires parent to take a course before their child can play hockey. The course is called Respect in Sports. Coaches and parents must also sign a code of conduct. Amateur hockey got to a boiling point and something had to be done to curb aggressive parents.
With baseball, there are jurisdictions in British Columbia that have had to cancel games due to a lack of available umpires. Abusive parents and spectators at the ball diamond can be intimidating. At youth games, umpires are often youths too.
What is most important at this time is how the 16-year-old soccer official feels about the October 23rd incident that took place at Lochside School.
Greco told Victoria Sports News, “I suppose – missing out on all this – and something that is under the radar – is how the youth official is doing. I had some follow up with him and his family last week – as well as some correspondence today. He is doing great and is keen to keep refereeing. He will just continue to call the game as he sees it – and he feels this has been a good learning experience.”
According to Greco, the youth referee has gained some confidence knowing that the soccer body is protecting the referees and offer swift action if needed.
“I think that this is a great scenario considering the situation.”