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Taider Suspension: Voyageurs Cup Rule-makers Need a Re-Think

Montreal’s midfielder is suspended for the second-leg of the final, but have the organizers really thought this one out?

MLS: Canadian Championship-York 9 at Montreal Impact FC
Saphir Taider misses tomorrow night’s final due to two yellow cards. The first was incurred in this match against York9 FC at Stade Saputo, a round before final opponents Toronto FC had entered the competition.
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Saphir Taider will miss tomorrow evening’s conclusion to the Canadian Championship, missing the second-leg of the final due to two yellow-cards collected throughout the competition. But is the ruling fair and equitable and does it serve the best interests of a competition struggling for popularity in the North American soccer calendar?

Actually, it’s very easy to argue the negative on both counts.

Taider’s first yellow card came in what was the Third Qualifying Round, effectively the quarter-final, second-leg, against York9 FC. Before final opponents, Toronto FC had even kicked a ball in the tournament. TFC due to their top seeding, only joined the party at the semi-final stage.

Competition rules state that any player receiving two yellow-cards is suspended for the next game.

With Toronto only playing three matches in the tournament so far, and Montreal, five, there is clearly more chance an Impact player would incur two cautions than any player from Toronto.

It would be even more unjust should in the unlikely event a side playing from the First Qualifying Round of the tournament makes it all the way through to the semi-finals or final. Potentially they will have played six games to get to the semi-final stage, a run throughout which yellow cards are unavoidable. The chance they would then face opposition with a clean-slate due to privileged seeding, simply cannot be considered right.

It would be infinitely more just had the organizers simply followed the lead displayed in various major cup competitions world-wide and created an amnesty at the end of the semi-final stage, where all previous yellow-cards were declared null and void.

This could have even been introduced at the beginning of the semi-final stage, meaning all remaining sides in the competition would be playing off a level playing field and not with one club which hadn’t yet played in the competition, enjoying the benefit of a clean disciplinary slate, while the rest carried cards into the last four.

It also robs this particular final of one side playing with its full complement of designated players. Surely the public wants to see the top players from the respective clubs involved in cup finals?

This final has been robbed of that privilege. It’s not good for Montreal, the competition’s overall fairness or credibility, or indeed for the spectacle itself.

Please do something about it, at least for next year, Canada Soccer.