It’s official—the Okanagan Sun’s season-opening 65-10 victory over the Chilliwack Huskers will go into the books as a defeat.
An arbitrator this week ruled to uphold the B.C. Football Conference’s decision to overturn the Sun’s win on July 27 due to the use of an ineligible player.
The BCFC rescinded the victory according to the following CJFL rule:
“Should the player be ruled ineligible due to a major breech of eligibility rules (overage, suspension, unregistered and/or other similar situation) the offending team shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $3,000 and forfeit game/s in which the ineligible player is on their roster.”
Under the club’s interpretation of the rules, the Sun considered the penalty to be too severe and promptly field an appeal.
As the player in question, Curtis Kelly, was registered with the Hamilton Hurricanes of the Ontario Football Conference it was the arbitrator’s opinion that the BCFC’s decision was “reasonable.”
Although the verdict didn’t go the Sun’s way, president Paul Carson said the club respects the decision.
“Obviously we are disappointed with the decision but we had our day in court and that is what we had asked for,” Carson said in a statement. “We respect the decision, as well as the time and effort of the arbitrator and thank him for the consideration. We know he was diligent in his research of the situation and very much thank him for that.”
With the loss now official, the Sun’s record sits at 5-2, good for a three-way tie for first place with Langley and the V.I. Raiders.
With three games remaining, the Sun will finish no lower than second place and will have a minimum of one home playoff game.
Carson said it’s time for the entire Sun club to shift the focus back to the football field.
“Despite the obvious difference of opinion between our team and the BCFC we are prepared to move forward and focus on winning our remaining games with our goal still being first place in the BCFC,” Carson said. “Hopefully our players coaches and management will see this this as rallying point for the remainder of our season.”
The Sun returns to action this Saturday when they take on the Broncos in Kamloops.