The KC Ahtletics will no longer be taking part in the US Open Cup for 2013, we have had our accomplishments stolen from us#whatajoke
— KC Athletics (@KC_AthleticsFC) April 25, 2013
Yesterday the announcement came down that the KC Athletics would have to replay their US Open Cup "Win and You're In" qualifier against the Dearborn Stars because the Stars' protest of the result due to the field width had been upheld. Today, the Athletics officially withdrew from the competition because of the replay. There were a multitude of reasons why the Athletics could have chosen to drop out, expenditures with traveling 530 plus miles to Chicago, the 3 day notice for their players to take time off work, change social schedules, etc, or even out of spite because of the decision.
According to the Athletics General Manager/coach, Kyle Perkins though it was because of "Principal."
"We have proven 3 ways why the protest should be over turned, they refuse to acknowledge that fact. We don't agree, and won't play in a game that shouldn't be played." Perkins added.
Over the rest of this post I'll break down the three ways that Perkins is referring to and what did or did not happen in that process. And in the end led to the decision by Perkins and the Athletics to not travel to Chicago for the replay.
The first challenge to the protest had a couple points to it. The first argument was in regards to the fact that the Athletics moved the game from Saturday to Sunday because without that move, the Stars were possibly going to have to forfeit the game due to not having enough players able to make it to KC. KC didn't have to move the game, but chose to. Another argument was the fact that while Dearborn filed the protest, they still agreed to play the game. Would they have continued the protest if they'd have won the game, or withdrawn the protest? I'm going to guess they would have withdrawn.
The biggest part of the first challenge in my opinion was the measurement of the field. The only way the field was measured was by walking the field off by the match officials. I'm sure they have a decent idea of how to measure off a field, but if there is a protest about the size of the field, shouldn't there be a measurement done to confirm that the field is in fact that length? The argument isn't that the field was or was not too short, the problem is the fact that with the official protest, instead of guessing by measuring only by walking it off, there should have been an official measurement of the field done with some sort of measuring tool. To confirm the validity of the protest there should have been an official protest.
After those challenges were turned down, the Athletics came back with another issue. As part of the rules, when a team files a protest they have to submit a copy of the protest and their $500 fee to the Regional Commissioner and a copy to the opposing team with 3 days. The game against the Stars ended at 2pm on April 21st. That would mean that by 2pm on the 24th, the Athletics should have received a copy of the protest. At 2:55pm the Athletics had still not received a copy of the protest so they contacted the Regional Commissioner with this information requesting that the protest be thrown out. Shortly after the team contacted regional director, Debra Trapikas, Perkins received an email from the Stars with the proper information. When Perkins confronted Trapikas about this, he was told that the period is until midnight of the third day. None of that though is in the rule, 3(b)(1), which you can read below.
- The original protest and a protest fee of $500.00 shall be submitted to the State Cups Commissioner for state rounds of competitions, and the Regional Cups Commissioner for regional rounds of competitions, within three days of the game to which the protest relates. A copy of the protest must be forwarded to the opposing team in the game. The protest shall be submitted to the appropriate cups commissioner and the opposing team by overnight express mail, telephone facsimile, or electronic mail.
With the midnight interpretation of the rule, from Trapikas, the protest was still upheld according to that interpretation of the rules.
The final attempt that the Athletics made to challenge the protest was to do with the interpretation of the playing rules. In the rules, it states "In all rounds played in the National Cup competitions, the playing rules are the FIFA Laws of the Game in effect at the time of the deadline of entry."
The Athletics challenge to the protest was that Dearborn then needed to follow FIFA regulations when it comes to terms on protests. Those terms (thanks to the USA vs Costa Rica World Cup qualifier in Denver as an example) state that a protest must "immediately lodge a protest with the referee in the presence of the captain of the opposing team."
Perkins said that this did not happen and because of this FIFA regulation, the team felt that the protest should have been over turned. This argument as well was turned down by the regional commissioner.
With those three options exhausted, the Athletics requested their seven day grace period after they received the protest to prepare a statement in accordance with rule 3(c) of the protest rules, seen below:
- The opposing team shall have seven days from the date the copy of the protest was forwarded to it, to submit to the appropriate cups commissioner its statement regarding the protest, if any. A copy of the statement shall be submitted to the opposing team by overnight express mail, telephone facsimile, electronic mail.
This meant that the Athletics were not going to get their 7 day period to prepare their response. This is because the list of qualifiers from Region II are due next week to US Soccer. So with all that done, the Athletics decided to withdraw from the competition.
To me, this all comes off as a load of bull shit. The Athletics made legitimate challenges to the protest that do not appear to have been heard by the commissioner. The ones that really gets me, are the first two. On the first one, if there's an official protest about the field size made before the game, then an official measurement of the field should take place to get an official measurement, not a "walk off" of the measurement. As for the second one it really is sketchy to me that shortly after Perkins makes the call on it, the protest magically appears in his inbox. It could all just be coincidence, but that it one hell of a coincidence if true.
It's a frustrating situation that at this point there appears to be no more recourse for the Athletics. The US Open Cup and the Region II finals are going to move forward without them (although it'd be interesting if Dearborn returns to KC for the regional finals and a large group showed up there). The interesting part has come up from the casual soccer community in KC who knew that the Athletics had qualified and are now actively either cheering against the team or hoping they advance far enough to play Sporting and hope that Sporting crush them.
In the end I feel sorry most for the Athletics players who won the game on the field. Both teams had to play on the same field, both teams had to deal with a yard and a half short on each side. And in the end the Athletics took the game. The Athletics could have been dicks to Dearborn and not even moved the game for them, and I bet next year if something like this were to happen they'd likely think about it harder before making the decision. It's just frustrating the whole situation.