Western Football Association, 1880–1940—Constitution 1909
1. This Association shall be called "The Western Football Association of Ontario."
2. All Clubs west of Toronto, playing Association Rule and composed exclusively of Amateurs, shall be eligible for membership.
3. The Annual Entrance Fee for each Cup Competition (Senior, Intermediate, Junior and Collegiate) shall be Two Dollars.
4. The Officers shall consist of an Honorary President, a President, a Vice-President from each district, an Honorary Secretary and a Secretary-Treasurer; and they shall be elected at the Annual Meeting.
5. The President shall preside at all meetings of the Association. He shall be a consulting member of all Committees without power to vote, and shall call through the Secretary-Treasurer, all meetings of the Association or the Executive Committee. He shall perform all other duties imposed on him by the Constitution or the Playing Rules, and his disposition of peculiar and urgent matters, which may from time to time arise, must be accepted pending any further action.
6. The Vice-Presidents shall act as Conveners of all meetings in their respective districts. They shall have full power, subject to the approval of the President, to draw up, with the assistance of delegates from their respective districts, the official schedule of games for the first round of the season and all expenses incurred in this regard shall be met by the respective districts.
7. The Secretary-Treasurer shall have control of all funds and shall transact all matters of business pertaining to the association.
The Hon. Secretary shall be the Archivist of the Association and it shall be his duty to edit the Annual.
8. The following Committees shall be elected at the Annual Meeting:–
A Committee on Amateur Standing and Registration, of three members.
A Committee on Protest and Appeals, of three members.
An Audit Committee, of two members.
The Chairman of each Committee shall be he who receives the largest vote at the election of such Committee. In the event of a Committee being elected by acclamation, the Annual Meeting shall elect a Chairman from the members of the said Committee. The Chairman may with the other members of his Committee arrive at a decision by mail, telegraph, or telephone (subject to confirmation by letter).
Each Committee shall discuss all matters coming properly under its jurisdiction, and having reached a decision, shall communicate the same to the President, through the Secretary-Treasurer. Any decision so reported cannot be rescinded except by the unanimous consent of the Committee, or by a majority vote of the Executive Committee.
9. The Committee on Amateur Standing and Registration shall settle all disputes with reference to the Registration of players, and shall have power to suspend any player charged with a violation of the Amateur Rules or the Registration Rules, pending a final decision by the Executive Committee.
10. The Committee on Protests and Appeals shall decide all Protests and Appeals arising out of Matches. A member of this Committee shall be ineligible to act in the event of a Local Club being interested, and for the consideration of said Protest or Appeal the President shall appoint a substitute.
11. In addition to these Committees there shall be a Match Committee of three members appointed annually by the President. This Committee shall have full power (1) to arrange and conduct semi-final and final Matches, including the appointment of Referees therefor: (2) to dispose of matters of an immediate nature, not otherwise provided for.
12. The Executive Committee shall consist of the officers of the Association and the Chairmen of the various Committees. The powers and duties of the Executive during its term of office shall be:
(a) To conduct the business of the Association, authorising all expenditures in connection therewith.
(b) To fill any vacancies which may occur on the Executive.
(c) To amend or alter the Cup Competition Rules.
(d) To hear and pass on all Rulings of Standing Committees.
(e) To suspend or expel a Club member, or player, for notorious and continued foul play, or unfair unsportsmanlike or ungentlemanly conduct on the field, or at any meeting or gathering, in the interests of the game.
(f) To suspend or expel any Club, or player or member refusing to accept and obey the ruling of the Executive.
(g) To re-admit by resolution and a majority vote of the Executive, any club or member, or player under suspension.
(h) A ruling of the Executive shall be final unless reversed at a General Annual Meeting, on a two-thirds vote of those present.
13. The Annual Meeting shall be held on Good Friday at such place as the Executive Committee shall appoint; but they may call a session for the evening preceding Good Friday, should the amount of prospective business in their opinion warrant the same.
14. Elections at the Annual Meeting shall be by Nomination and Ballot. Nominations must be sent to the Secretary Treasurer at least one week before the date of the Annual Meeting.
15. At all meetings of the Association each Club, shall be entitled to one representative for each competition it proposes to enter in addition to any member on the Executive, or on any Committee. No two clubs shall be represented by the same individual.
16. The Laws of the Game, Definition of Terms, Instructions to Referees and the Definition of an Amateur shall be those of the Ontario Association Football League.
17. In the event of any alterations being deemed necessary in the Constitution of the Association, or the Laws of the Game, notice of the proposed alterations must be sent in writing to the Secretary-Treasurer at least two weeks before the Annual Meeting and the Secretary-Treasurer shall inform each club of the proposed alteration before the date of the Annual Meeting. Notices to amend the Competition Rules at the Annual Meeting must be in the hands of the Secretary- Treasurer not later than noon of Good Friday.
18. Each club shall forward on the Official Form of Application its name, the name and address of its Secretary, and a statement of its distinguishing colours or costume, to the Secretary-Treasurer of the Association.
19. Order of Business.
1) Minutes of preceding Annual Meeting, and of any special General Meeting during the year.
2) President's Address.
4) Receiving report of Committee on Credentials; proposals for affiliations; and other reports.
5) Motions of which notice has been given.
6) General Business.
7) Elections of Officers.
Western Football Association, 1880–1940
Western Football Association: Constitution 1909 (cont.)
Some idea of the scope of the W.F.A. can be seen from the make-up of the executives in 1910 and 1912 and from the list of secretaries of the clubs and the towns the referees came from.
The executive of the Western Football Association in 1910 was as follows: Hon. President, D.A. McLachlan (Stratford); President, Dr. R. Lederman (Milverton); Hon. Secretary, D. Forsyth, B.A. (Berlin); Secretary-Treasurer, Thomas G. Elliott (Galt); District Vice-Presidents: Southern, G.C. Wilson, M.P.P. (Dundas); Oxford, E.A. Rae (Woodstock); Central, R.S. Hamilton, B.A. (Galt); Perth, J. McCutcheon, B.A. (Stratford); Huron, F. Sills (Seaforth); London, W. Govenlock, B.A. (London); Bruce, Dr. L. Doering (Mildmay); Grey, A.E. McNabb (Walkerton); Niagara, G.S. Phemister (Niagara Falls); Peel, Rev. S.R. Robinson (Caledon).
In 1910, those who refereed in the Western Football Association came from the following towns: Atwood, Berlin, Brussels, Caledon, Chesley, Elmira, Galt, Guelph, Ingersoll, Listowel, London, Mildmay, Milverton, Mono Mills, Niagara Falls, Owen Sound, Preston, Seaforth, Stratford, Strathroy, Tavistock, Walkerton, Waterloo and Woodstock.
In 1912, the executive of the Western Football Association was as follows: President, T.G. Elliott (Galt); First Vice- President, Frank Sills (Seaforth); Second Vice-President, E.A. Rea Phm.B. (Woodstock); Hon. President, D. Forsyth, B.A.. (Berlin); Secretary-Treasurer, H.W. Brown, B.A. (Berlin). Other members of the Executive: J.M. McCutcheon, B.A. (Stratford); Louis Doering, D.D.S. (Mildmay); T.G. Ratcliffe (Atwood); H.C. Zimmerman (Tavistock); James Ballantyne (Brussels); James G. Gunn (Woodstock).
The W.F.A. secretaries and the clubs they represented in 1912 were as follows: Seniors: Russell Sandercock (Woodstock), A. Hahan (Tavistock), George A. Jackson (Stratford), E.E. Hardisty (St. Mary's), J.A. Baynes (Granton). Intermediate: Fred R. Harrison (Niagara Falls), Frank Prine (St. George), H. Kavelman (New Dundee), James Weepers (Galt), W. Halberstadt (Preston), F.R. Johnson (Hespeler), Andy Brown (Berlin Rangers), H. Schmidt (Berlin Tigers), W.H. McIntosh (Brucefield), Harry Scott (Seaforth), Glen Armstrong (Brussels), E.R. Wilkinson (Wingham), W. Shearer (Poole), N.R. Boyce (Milverton), C.F. Gibson (Listowel), George Helwig (Mildmay), Norman Huck (Walkerton), Bert McGee (Hanover), J.C. McDonald (Owen Sound), A.A. Bamford (London), D.A. McKinney (St. Thomas).
The annual meeting in 1912 brought an address from Louis Blake Duff, the manager of the Galt team that won the Gold Medal at the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis, Missouri. The transcript appeared in the Toronto Globe of April 9, 1908: "The influx of old country men in the last few years has added something to our football, and, I feel constrained to say, has taken something away. From among these new Canadians we have obtained a few good referees and a number of good players, men who are desirable as members of our association. There are others again who have shown a fine contempt for the decencies of sport and have been totally lacking in loyalty to the association in which they are registered. Your officers have had to meet onslaughts of impertinence and insolence. I feel that we have a very warm welcome for the Britisher who comes to us with a tender of hearty and loyal service. If he has not these gifts in his hands we would be better without him.
" … this association should be represented in the football competition in the Olympic games at London this year. The Western, as everybody knows, is the daddy of all the associations on this side of the Atlantic. It was within the confines of the W.F.A. that the game had its birth in America, and today, after a growth of twenty-nine years, I venture to say there is no other association in the new world controlling so many players and clubs and none in which the article of football is superior.
"We are told often enough that a Canadian football team could not hope to compete successfully against the best in the old land, and it is doubtless true that the standard of football in the mother country is considerably superior to that here. However, I have no fear but that a representative team from this association would make a very creditable showing in any competition. It is just twenty years ago that a team from the Western Football Association played a series of 23 games in Great Britain and Ireland, winning 9, losing 9 and drawing 5, scoring 30 goals and having 41 goals scored against them. The West Bromwich Albions, English champions of the year, defeated the Canadians by only 1 to 0. It would seem that even in those early days Canadian football did not suffer from comparison with the old land game."
At the annual meeting in 1927, as reported in the Toronto Globe, the W.F.A. urged the national governing body to allow substitutions. "At the WFA-AGM in April of 1927 the WFA with a view to somewhat Canadianising soccer, decided to ask the Dominion Association through the Ontario body to grant associations the right to make local rules permitting the use of substitutes, as in hockey, and to give referees power for short or long periods as the case warrants as provided for in hockey.
L.W. Appel, of Tavistock, in outlining his reasons for introducing the suggestions stated that the backbone of the W.F.A. is the small town team, and he said soccer in the smaller centres has been losing ground steadily of late. He disagreed with Secretary Muir, that soccer in keeping with other sports had lost ground of late owing to business depression, stating that it was going back because it was not modern enough. He stated that in Tavistock hockey was booming and soccer slipping and he suggested the Canadian methods of substitutes and penalties as a possible means of speeding up the game and creating greater interest. Hockey, he said, had improved 75 per cent with the advent of subs and he thought soccer would also experience a boom. Ten years ago he pointed out, a $200 soccer gate in Tavistock, a town of 1,000, was not uncommon and now the club is lucky to get $30.
President Bamford stated that other small places felt the same way as Tavistock. He pointed out that junior soccer has slipped badly and the sub idea might be a good one to develop promising youngsters. He disagreed entirely with the rule which says that when a man is injured no sub is allowed, stating that it was unfair to play under these conditions.
L.W. Appel expressed the opinion that as the W.F.A. is made up of small towns the suggestion might be the salvation of the organization.
He predicted if matters are allowed to drift, as they are now, with no change it will ultimately mean a choice between the W.F.A. cutting adrift from the D.F.A. and O.F.A., or going out of business.
Delegates from Hanover, Owen Sound and Kitchener opposed the suggestions on the ground that the rules had lasted this long and were good enough. They claimed that the rules place a premium on condition and that carrying the extra two men would be expensive. They also said 11 men were hard enough to get without finding 13. Secretary Muir raised a storm of protest when he made the assertion that 90 per cent of all penalties were the result of clumsiness or lack of ability on the part of the man penalised."
Over the years, the W.F.A. lost its appeal, and by the time that the annual meeting in 1939 had rolled around, the treasurer's report showed that the organization was starting the season with $3. The officers elected at that time were President Frank Westermann (Fergus); first vice-president Bob McKinlay (London); second vice-president C.E. Wendt (Mildmay); secretary-treasurer James Blake (Kitchener); executive committee: J. Worton (Guelph), Mel Veitch (Roseville), Stanley Melbourne (Tavistock) with two others to be appointed by the president. At the AGM in 1940, it was noted that Harry Brown was attending his 50th consecutive annual meeting. The W.F.A. remained in existence until the outbreak of the Second World War when, like so many other soccer organizations, it closed down. Unfortunately, when normal life resumed, the W.F.A. does not seem to have been re-formed. The last president on record is Frank Westerman, who also administered the Beatty team of Fergus.