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Fred Nykamp is suing the Canadian Soccer Association for allegedly offering him the job as chief executive officer and then changing its mind.

Nykamp, in a statement of claim, says he left his job as CEO of Canada Basketball on May 24 and accepted the job of CEO with the soccer association the same day.

But he never officially started his new job and claims he was the victim of wrongful hiring and firing.

In a statement filed Oct. 10, Nykamp alleges the association negligently misrepresented itself when it offered him the job of CEO and then changed its mind. For this he is claiming $1.2 million.

Should the courts turn down this claim, Nykamp is alternatively claiming $432,000 for breach of contract and wrongful dismissal.

In either case, he is also seeking $100,000 in punitive damages.

The CSA has told the Citizen it has no comment to make since the matter is in the hands of its lawyers. No statement of defence has been filed yet. None of these allegations has been proven in court.

According to Nykamp's statement of claim, the story goes back to late 2004, when the CSA commissioned Deloitte & Touche to review how it operated.

That led to a recommendation that the CSA hire a CEO with full authority over key areas of operation and that executive authority be taken away from the association's volunteer board of directors and given to the new CEO.

It was also recommended that the number of directors be reduced and the board become policymakers and overseers.

Nykamp says in the statement of claim that that led to the chief operating officer being fired in November last year and a board selection committee being formed to find a replacement.

The selection committee interviewed him for the job on March 5 this year, says the statement of claim. Nykamp says he was told, at that time, he would have full control over decision-making.

Nykamp's claim says he met the selection committee on May 11 and, among other things, was told that committee members individually and the board as a whole were ready to make fundamental changes in the way the CSA operated and to relinquish responsibility and authority to him.

At the end of the meeting, according to the statement of claim, CSA president Colin Linford offered Nykamp the job on behalf of the board.

The claim says a written offer was e-mailed to Nykamp on May 18 and four days later he accepted. He then resigned from Canada Basketball, where he had been CEO for three years, and on May 24 his resignation was announced.

The same day the CSA held a media conference to announce Nykamp's appointment. It was agreed, Nykamp says in his claim, that he should start work on Aug. 1.

In the meantime, Nykamp says, he agreed to work without pay before and during the FIFA Under-20 World Cup and to handle any pressing operational matters, if necessary.

There were several, Nykamp claims in his statement of claim:

l He attended the FIFA welcome dinner for the U-20 World Cup as the new CEO.

l He became involved in a controversy over allegations that the national women's team was underfunded, flew to Vancouver and met with the coaching staff and the team manager to smooth it out.

l When told the executive committee was considering five people for the job of technical director, which had been empty for more than a year, he said he would make the final hiring decision and asked for résumés for the five. He did not receive them.

The statement of claim says Nykamp asked coach Dale Mitchell for an evaluation of the team following the Under 20 Finals.

The claim says this evaluation contained finger pointing at the players for their lacklustre efforts. Nykamp then asked Mitchell for a self-evaluation but never received it.

Two days before he was to officially start, a surprised Nykamp says he was told by Linford that the board had not ratified his job offer. Nykamp's claim says no one had every suggested that this was required.

At that time, according to the statement of claim, Nykamp was told not to show up for work on Aug. 1 but to meet with the executive committee on Aug. 11. At that meeting, he was told the board would meet to vote on ratifying his appointment on Aug. 16.

That did not happen until Aug. 26 when the board voted not to ratify the job and to fire Nykamp, who was told this by telephone three days later.

He received a confirming letter on Aug. 31.

The CSA has until Oct. 30 to file a notice of intent to defend.

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Canada's soccer community isn't waiting for the CSA to heal itself.

Sometimes, a revolution doesn't look like much. You don't need tanks and barricades, smoke in the streets, screaming in the night.

This one started with a few hundred fans in matching black t-shirts singing one brief "Sack the CSA" song behind the south goal of BMO Field during the Canada-Costa Rica match.

Next thing you know, three smiling gents from different parts of the country shake hands in a private box and take in a Toronto FC game. Soon after that, a sheaf of legal papers is filed in an Ontario court - and a large banquet hall in the city's northwest suburbs gets booked for a little Tuesday night get-together.

Not overtly threatening, by present global standards.

But none of it is good news for the reeling, embattled, leaderless Canadian Soccer Association.

The power vacuum left by the resignation of president Colin Linford and the rejection of formerly incoming CEO Richard Nykamp continues to hamper the governing body of Canadian soccer. And into the void is stepping - well, just about everybody!

The three gents in the private box were high-ranking representatives of Toronto FC, the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps. Canada's three professional men's soccer teams then issued a polite, respectful - and utterly earth-shattering - press release. They announced a commitment to work together to foster and supervise elite player development across the country.

That, of course, is supposed to be the CSA's job. But Canada's odd that way. In most other nations, the pro clubs run player development. Canada's been a long-standing exception, largely because our top-level teams were too small - both in size and number - to be able to bankroll such an ambitious task.

No longer. TFC is owned by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, a huge and highly profitable sports conglomerate. The Whitecaps are the proud plaything of West Coast billionaire Greg Kerfoot, and Impact owner Joey Saputo is a prominent Montreal businessman, currently engaged in common-ground discussions with the Montreal Canadiens and Liverpool FC.

These people have resources - and a vested interest in developing elite soccer talent. Canada might easily have three teams in MLS within five years. Where are all the required Canadian players going to come from? It's good business for the teams to get cracking on that problem - right now.

This is deeply significant. Even if the CSA were to recover from its present swoon, the structure of its board - dominated by provincial and territorial representatives with their own local agendas - is poorly suited to the task Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are demanding. And the CSA will never have the financial resources of MLSE, Kerfoot and Saputo.

The CSA - in one of its most vital responsibilities - may be about to be replaced.

Cut to the courts, and the filing of a $1.75-million breach-of-contract lawsuit against the CSA by a very annoyed Fred Nykamp. I'm not a legal expert by any means, but the guy's got a heck of a case.

Linford recruited him out of a secure, comfortable job running Basketball Canada. They agreed to a deal, and Nykamp was publicly introduced as the CSA's new chief executive. And then the board hemmed, and then the board hawed, and then the board said "no." Linford resigned in protest. Nykamp, suddenly and through no fault of his own, was out of work in both basketball and soccer.

Whatever amount Nykamp wins here will be a large chunk of change Canadian soccer won't get - as many as 1.75 million more reasons why the CSA needs a quick and drastic overhaul.

Which brings us to the banquet hall. This coming Tuesday, a large and concerned cross-section of soccer fans, officials and media types will get together to go over everything - from every angle - and draw up a new structure for the governance of Canadian soccer. A new national body will be proposed, with better, more effective placements for everybody within the revised structure.

This meeting won't have any actual authority. But it will generate new ideas, get some media coverage, and get everybody talking about the same things. Up until now, we've all agreed things are broken. Here and now begins the tricky job of actually putting things back together again.

If provincial reps shouldn't have such an iron-clad say over Canada's national soccer teams, what power should they have? And how do we get it to them?

How many actual answers emerge that night doesn't really matter. The point is - on all fronts - concerned people are taking action. Nobody, outside of the CSA board members, seems content to let the CSA heal itself.

At the risk of speaking for an entire huge and diverse community - we just can't wait that long.

We're past the t-shirt stage now. The money men are moving in at the top, and the grassroots is surging at the bottom. A year from now, there may be no reason left for the CSA to actually exist.

Which might not - if everyone ends up better placed to do a better job - inconvenience anyone.

It's not a crazy dream anymore. Real change is happening.


Ben Knight writes about soccer and lacrosse regularly on Sportsnet.ca.

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Canada - Jamaica World Cup Qualifier

Wednesday's (Aug. 20) World Cup Qualifier from BMO Field in Toronto will be made available LIVE to subscribers of the Rogers SportsNet digital package. The digital feeds of the SportsNet West and Pacific regions will be carrying the match live beginning 6:30 PM EST.

Just to be perfectly clear, the match will be carried on the digital feeds, NOT the regular regional feeds. So if you're a viewer in Western Canada or British Columbia you will still need the SportsNet digital package in order to tune into the digital feed. Your regular SportsNet channel will be carry Blue Jays baseball.

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I'll be at the game tomorrow. Canada should win even on a surface the players hate playing on: field-turf. I think the game is close to selling out - last week almost 19 thousand tickets were sold.

According to de Vos and Craig Forrest (and many others), this is the best Canadian squad since the team that made the World Cup.

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while I don't expect a 'review', Dave, I do hope you'll be posting your thoughts on the game afterward- atmosphere, standout moments during the play, etc;

Also a lot of these Caribbean countries throw bags of urine at the Canadian players when we play them away, perhaps you could exact some Carlsberg fuelled revenge to that end?

Thank you

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de Vos should still be playing for Canada.

I really like this team. They don't play afraid and are really creative in the offensive zone, two qualities that usually weren't associated with Canadian football.

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Who are you going with, btw? Probably no-one I know, I doubt the Lucys would be up for it.

Did I hear you talk about having some Jamacian friends maybe?!?!?

Stu? Andrew Brennan?

I'm going with Vicki. Stu and I don't talk. Andrew lives too far away and I don't think he's a soccer fan.

Don Lucey is going and so are a few other people I know. I'm sitting in really good seats somewhere near the centre in one of the Team Canada fan zones. Lucey got free cheapo seats and he's going with a "real" Irishman.

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They need to prove me wrong and I hope they do.

Oh God, do I ever hear you.

But I still have fairly decent hopes for this squad because they have some talent this time. The MLS is definitely helping the progress of some players but CONCACAF is still a tough nut to crack with so little spots.

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and such shitty biased reffing. Also Mexico's in our group, that's a colossal hurdle.

In theory home field advantage will help tomorrow but those reggae boys will be in tough and there's always a contingent of "Jamaican-Canadians" spoiling the numbers a bit.

exam not til next wednesday now so i'm in the clear to watch this... yee haw

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and such shitty biased reffing

If you dont score enough, which allows the refs decisions to come into play, there aint much to complain about. Sure it sucks but what else can you do under those circumstances?

Barrett, that one game we watched on Louisa blew my freaking head off.

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it'll be fairly tight there badams

i'll guess 2-1 Canada

good on you and Vicki there Dave. are you dressing in red?

I've dusted-off my red Canada t-shirt. I'm heading to the game after work tomorrow. It'll be tight making it for 7:30. Vicki will already be in the stands.

Interesting talk tonight on The Fan with Gerry Dobson and Mo Johnson regarding BMO's field-turf amongst many things. Mo is pushing/wishing for a grass field, citing stuff that we already know: TFC is having trouble signing good players etc... Also, Mo said that most of the Canadian national team dreads playing on it, which of course doesn't really help with a home-field advantge.

I belive the game is sold-out too with more of a pro-Canadian fanbase than Canada usually gets in Toronto.

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