The Vermont Principals’ Association, the governing body of high school athletics throughout the state, will not allow fans or media personnel at today’s Enosburg-Winooski Division III boys soccer semifinal game, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at Burlington High School.
Only team members, coaches, officials and school administrators will be allowed to attend the game.
“This decision has been made to ensure the physical and emotional safety of all student-athletes involved,” states a VPA press release.
The two teams last faced off back on Sept. 18, with plenty of controversy surrounding that game.
Winooski superintendent Sean McMannon wrote a letter in the days following Winooski’s 3-2 win over Enosburg detailing alleged racial slurs used against Winooski athletes during the match.
“They were called the N-word, monkey, and terrorist. This is not the first time EFHS soccer players and spectators have racially abused WHS students,” the letter states.
An internal investigation conducted by the Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union, which includes Enosburg Falls High School, did not find evidence of wrongdoing, according to a Burlington Free Press report. Winooski players were not interviewed as part of that investigation.
The Sept. 18 soccer match also turned physical, as captured in a YouTube clip where a Winooski player can be seen head-butting an Enosburg player in retaliation after his teammate was kicked. No fouls were called by the officials for either act.
A report from Seven Days states the Winooski player who head-butt an opponent could face legal consequences.
Four yellow cards and one red card were assessed during play, an unusually high number for any soccer match.
The two teams were scheduled to meet again Oct. 18 in Enosburg, though both schools agreed to cancel that contest.
Mike Donoghue, executive director of both the Vermont Press Association and the Vermont Sports Media Association, wrote to the VPA appealing the decision to ban media coverage of Tuesday’s contest, writing the decision “Appears to be an unprecedented directive.”
Today’s game, originally slated to be played at Winooski High School, has been moved to Burlington High School, according to a tweet from Winooski’s Twitter account. The match will begin at 3:30 p.m. and will be live streamed on Winooski’s Twitter.