No Soccer War, Says Cahill
In recent editions of The Globe, reference was made to a soccer war between the United States Soccer Association and the Dominion of Canada based on reports purporting to such an attitude emanating from Ottawa, Can. On several occasions pertinent extracts o the article submitted by the Ottawa scribes appeared in these columns in hopes of revealing in local enthusiasts the soccer relations believed to be existing between the U. S. F. A. and the Canadian teams. At one time reference was made relative to the Bethlehem Steel Workers proposing a trip to Canada and it is believed that this proposition inspired the correspondent in submitting his views on the standing between these factions. Thomas W. Cahill, secretary of the United States Football Association, which controls the activities of all soccer teams in this country, both amateur and professional, takes exception to the statement emanating from Ottawa to the effect that a war exists. He declares in strong terms that be soccer players of this country are not warring against the Canadians and that the entire matter is due to a misunderstanding. He points out that this country's soccer team decided to remain neutral in the war against athletes of the Central Powers, a war waged by England and its colonies. Hence, the U. S. F. A. is not in the least involved in the present controversy and cannot see any reason why the neutrals should be barred from playing against teams of the Central Powers as well as against teams of the Allies in the recent World War. Believing that Bethlehem soccer lovers are vitally interested in the matter, Mr. Cahill has forwarded a complete statement, as follows:
"In recent issues The Globe referred to a statement from Canada in which it was pointed out that our association was at war with the English and Canadian soccer players and that as a result we could not possibly send a team to Canada for international matches. The facts of the international tangle which I desire the readers of The Globe to know are as follows:
"About a year ago a proposal was made by the Belgian Football Association that the Central Empires be proscribed and deprived of their membership in the Federation Internationale de Football Association, or the F.I.F.A., as it is generally referred to. The European members of the F.I.F.A. were canvassed and France and England supported the Belgium proposal, England most militantly.
"It was generally recognized at the time that the idea was of English origin and that Belgium was merely acting for England in assuming the leadership. The other European countries, however, rebelled. All of the neutrals, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Spain, Finland and Switzerland, opposed the resolution. The Central Empires did, naturally, and so did Italy, the only one of the Allied nations to take this definite stand.
"The matter was submitted to this country for a vote, but it was so important, involving as it did, the life of the F.I.F.A., that our association did not consider the matter until we held our annual meeting in May of 1920. By that time the disturbance in Europe had begun to subside. Belgium and France had grown very uncertain in their support of the proposition and already unofficial steps had been taken to try to heal the schism in the organization.
"In view of this and in view of the further fact that we could see no good reason for keeping alive the animosities of the war, even though we were technically at war with the Central Powers, our association by an almost unanimous vote decided to remain in the F.I.F.A. as it was then and has been before the war constituted. Meantime the negotiations in Europe had progressed so rapidly that a conference had been held at Antwerp early in September between the neutrals and the there protesting countries.
"France and Belgium took part in the formation of a provisional government of the F.I.F.A. and an invitation, a delegation from the Football Association, Limited, the British governing body, headed by Sec. F> J. Wall, who was accompanied by Messrs. Crump and Walker, members of the English Council, came from Brussels and entered into the discussion, though they took no part in the formation of the provisional government. England had previously declared that unless the Central Powers got out of the F.I.F.A., she would and has even declared herself out.
"This development proves the wisdom of the action of the council at the annual meeting in St. Louis, Mo., about which the Ottawa writer seems to be well informed, his chief error being his inability to distinguish between a small section composed of the seventeen members and the two votes that were cast against the proposal which was carried.
"Our action did not admit of any games between an American team and one from any of the Central Powers, but it did admit of games between an American and a team representing any of the Allied or neutral nations, and did not outlaw a neutral nation for playing with a team from the Central Powers, as was determined by England. But, as I said, a good deal of this bitterness had died out at the time our association voted on the question, and when, in August, I was in Sweden with a St. Louis team, a game between a Swedish and an English team was under discussion.
"So the readers of The Globe can see that not only is there no war between the U.S. F. A. and the Dominion F. A., but there is very little war between England and any of the members of the F. I. F. A. Considering that England, France and Belgium have entered into more or less intimate commercial and diplomatic relations with the defeated nations, it seems rather preposterous to start a sporting war based on the political war which is hardly ended."