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Burnaby mayor urges SFU to reverse cancellation of football program

SFU president Joy Johnson announced April 4 that the Burnaby post-secondary school had decided to end its football program, effective immediately.
Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley. | Jess Balzer, Burnaby NOW.

Mike Hurley is calling on Simon Fraser University (SFU) to reverse its decision to end the post-secondary school's football program.

In a letter on social media, the Burnaby mayor said he's disappointed and supports those advocating for the Red Leafs' team to be reinstated.

"The SFU football program has been a part of the sports community in Burnaby since the university was founded in 1965," he wrote in the statement.

"Many alumni have gone on to successful careers in professional football and the program has helped countless others achieve success in other fields.

"The long record of success has attracted high-quality athletes from across the world to pursue studies at SFU, including many from Burnaby. Given the timing of the announcement to cancel the program, many more talented graduating high school athletes who have already committed to SFU will be adversely impacted by this abrupt decision."

Hurley added he joins athletes, alumni and sport leaders from across the country in urging SFU's administration to reconsider its decision.

SFU president Joy Johnson announced on April 4 that the school decided to immediately end its football program.

In response, a civil claim on behalf of SFU football players Gideone Kremiler, Kimo Hio, Andrew Lirag, Ryan Barthelson and Dayton Ingenhaag was filed in B.C. Supreme Court on April 13, claiming the school had breached its contract with players.

In an interview with the NOW on April 5, SFU athletic director Theresa Hanson said the school explored "all avenues" to keep the program going.

On April 20, SFU announced Johnson had directed the school to appoint a special advisor to review and make recommendations regarding potential sustainable opportunities for football.