Security hired to watch B.C. parents angered by COVID rules at youth soccer games

CHILLIWACK, B.C. — A youth soccer club in Chilliwack, B.C., has hired a security firm to patrol the sidelines during games because of what the club describes as "borderline violent" confrontations over COVID-19 restrictions.

In a letter posted on the Chilliwack FC website Tuesday, chair Andrea Laycock says some parents have made "poor decisions" about how they respond to contact tracers working with the team.

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Laycock writes that some parents have treated contact tracers, club volunteers and staff so poorly that "it can be considered a potential violence in the workplace issue."

Provincial health restrictions limit attendance at games to 49 and Chilliwack FC says enforcing that order means limiting each player to a single spectator.

Laycock says, in addition to the security firm doing "periodic sweeps" of venues, parents must sign the club's COVID-19 policy by Thursday or their child will not be allowed to attend practices or games.

If any further issues are reported, she says offenders risk being banned from games or expelled from the club.

"We understand and respect these are difficult times for many of us but we simply cannot condone the shockingly poor behaviour we've seen the past couple of weeks," Laycock says.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2020.

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