Firstly, as President of the Sounders FC Alliance Council, I would like to personally apologise for the late changes in dates, venue and format of the Alliance Annual Business Meeting.
I would like to take a few moments and give some comments and colour regarding the 2019 Annual Business Meeting; specifically addressing some of the questions Alliance Council has received and to extinguish the speculative, inaccurate and sometimes malicious commentary that has been circulating.
Firstly: Alliance Council took your feedback from the past two Annual Business Meetings to heart. We heard that the streaming worked for many – but that you missed a lot of the connection and contacts that came from a larger in-person event. The two Annual Business Meetings that were held in the Ninety were smaller in size – but the number of RSVPs to attend were small. In addition we supported the Club in setting up the now annual Fan Appreciation event during the Summer – which allowed a lot more of us to celebrate, meet with players and listen to our ownership and General Manager.
Secondly: the Annual Business Meeting is an important review of the year for Alliance members. Our Constitution demands the meeting at the close of the playing season. This requires a partnership with the Club at all levels. Without this partnership it is near impossible to hold a meaningful meeting – you expect and deserve representation from Alliance Council, Ownership, Front Office and our General Manager.
Since December 2018, Alliance Council have been requesting a larger, in-person event. The club was broadly supportive. During the Spring and Summer our working group was meeting to discuss the requirements and logistics for such an event. During the Fall of this year we were jointly reviewing venues that would support this in-person event. Our original preference for a date was before the playoffs, during the international break. Club limitations prevented this. We settled on a date in mid-November. We had a date, a venue and started the communication.
There was a wrinkle. We knew that our strong finish in the West would mean home playoff games. We knew that permutations in the East gave a small chance of a home final. Then we beat LA. We all held our breath while Toronto did their piece. The Front Office went into MLS Cup overdrive – selling out the stadium, preparing for our biggest home game – and also planning for a potential parade in the week following the cup game.
Hosting the cup, celebrating the parade – that meant that the original meeting could not happen on the same day. Complications were added as ownership and our General Manager were being pulled across the continent for league and confederation business. It’s December – and at short notice most venues are not available. This is where we are.
As I said – we listened – and winning our second star got in the way.
Democracy in Sports requires being thoughtful. Our ask for 2020 is that the Front Office work with Alliance Council early – and lock down the Annual Business Meeting for 2020. We ask that the date and venue details are communicated pre-season so we can have the Annual Business meeting that we all expect and deserve.
During our October and November 2019 Alliance Council meetings, we discussed a set of amendments to Alliance Bylaw 3 – describing how the Alliance Council can make formal statements.
Alliance Council has always had two types of statement that can be formally made:
a Binding Resolution – which is sent for Alliance-wide consideration and vote
an Opinion Statement – which is voted on by the Alliance Council
The Bylaw 3 amendment clarifies some of the language and intent for this – and also gives a clear outline of a process where the Alliance Council Executive can make a rapid Opinion Statement on behalf of the full Alliance Council. We have seen recently several cases where this would have been beneficial.
BYLAW 3. METHODS OF INTRODUCING TOPICS FOR A BINDING VOTE OR NON-BINDING OPINION STATEMENT There are three types of statements that the Council may make: Binding Resolution, Binding Resolution for Alliance-wide Vote and Non-binding Opinion Statement. Alliance Members may propose resolutions or statements through an Alliance Council member.
3.1 Procedure for Proposing a Binding Resolution. The procedure for proposing a Binding Resolution is as follows: a) Provide a copy of the proposed resolution or statement to the Executive Committee; b) If approved by majority vote of the Executive Committee, best efforts shall be made to schedule the first reading of the proposed resolution or statement on the Council agenda within the next sixty (60) days; c) At the meeting where the first reading takes place, the Council Member who presented the proposal shall read the proposal and a discussion on the matter shall take place; d) At the next scheduled Council Meeting where quorum is present, a vote shall be taken on whether to pass the proposal.
3.2 Binding Resolution to be Proposed for Alliance-Wide Vote. To initiate an Alliance-wide vote on a binding resolution by the Alliance, the question must be approved for an Alliance-wide ballot by a two-thirds vote of Quorum. Prior to voting to put an issue to the Alliance, the Council shall invite the Club to attend a meeting and discuss the issue fully. After an affirmative vote to place a binding resolution on an Alliance-wide ballot, and with at least thirty (30) days prior notice, the question shall be considered by the entire Alliance during the next Alliance-wide voting period as established in the bylaws.
3.3 Non-Binding Opinion Statement by the Council. To pass an opinion statement by the Alliance Council, the question must be approved by a majority vote of Quorum. This may be done at any meeting of the Council where the Opinion Statement is proposed.
3.4 Non-Binding Opinion Statement by the Executive Committee on behalf of the Council. If a time sensitive issue arises that demands a Non-Binding Opinion Statement, the Executive Committee may, by majority vote, make such a statement. This may be done only after first conferring with the Council via electronic or telephonic means and providing an opportunity for input from the Council.
3.5 Council Votes on Matters Proposed by the Club. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Club may request the Council make a statement on any issue that the Club sees fit; such a request does not require a sponsoring Council member or second. All requests from the Club shall receive consideration, discussion, and a vote by the Council or Executive Committee and the Club shall be entitled to send a Club representative to the Council meeting to speak on the issue during the discussion. The Club should make requests through the Alliance Council President and provide thirty days of notice for such matters.
Reign FC and Sounders FC players pose with their EQUALITY jerseys. All images courtesy Sounders FC Communications. Credit: Charis Wilson.
We, the Seattle Sounders Alliance Council, believe that soccer is more than a sport.
With its roots in community and accessibility, soccer brings a diverse range of people together for the sheer love of what we all know as the Beautiful Game.
Soccer does not care if you are old or young, fit or out of shape, male or female, short or tall. All soccer needs is a space and something to kick around; bring the people and it will do the rest. Which is why we believe it is our collective responsibility to uphold the core inclusive values of the sport where we see them threatened.
There is no place more important to the commitment of inclusion than within MLS – the highest professional level of soccer in the US and Canada.
We believe that the proposed league wide Chick-fil-A partnership is in direct conflict with these values. Chick-fil-A, its ownership and affiliated Foundation, have a demonstrated position that is anti-inclusive in action and words.
We recognize that not every fan is going to be in agreement, and that some will see this as a political position. Diverse points of view are welcome as part of the community that soccer brings together for a common joy. However, we believe that respecting individual choices and perspectives doesn’t require entering into financial contracts with organizations that promote inequality and non-acceptance.