Local News

Raleigh Sports League Says Field Management Unfair, Despite Changes

Posted August 16, 2005

— A field fight in the capital city will not die.

For the first time, the city of Raleigh has changed its formula for who plays on city fields. Small sports leagues, however, say they are still getting bullied by the Capital Area Soccer League, even though CASL turned over management of fields to Raleigh.

The Tri Sports Social Club wants more time on Raleigh city fields, but club owners say they keep getting passed over.

"We got all-out bupkiss," said Tri Sports President Danny Lefebvre.

This month, the Raleigh Parks Department made sweeping changes to its scheduling.

Under an old agreement, the Capital Area Soccer League controlled and got first dibs on fields. The leftovers went to other leagues.

To even out the playing field, the city took charge. It created a priority list for fields, putting its own teams and nonprofit teams at the top.

"We think it is fair," said Randy Ray, Raleigh's park superintendent.

But Tri Sports, which is a for-profit adult league, still thinks it is being shut out.

"I feel there was some genuine effort to reallocate the fields to the proper groups, but the fact of the matter is the groups that controlled the fields before still control the fields now and we really didn't get anything we could work a league off of," Lefebvre said.

Lefebvre is talking about CASL, a nonprofit youth league. It did get the fields and times it asked for. But now for the first time, it has to pay to play, just like everybody else.

"We've done what we were supposed to do and let everyone have their say, and this is what the city came up with and that's how we are going to play," said CASL President Charlie Slagle.

Despite complaints from Tri Sports, the city maintains the new approach is fair game.

"We were able to give everyone something, whether or not it is what they asked for, and we will have some space left. We want to work with them," Ray said.

While some groups are disappointed, others are thrilled. The Raleigh Lacrosse League had no assigned fields under the old system. The nonprofit now has two hours a week at the time it wanted.

"We are ecstatic," said a spokesperson for the league.

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