VPA Alters Ban, Will Allow Media at Winooski-Enosburg Soccer Game | Off Message

VPA Alters Ban, Will Allow Media at Winooski-Enosburg Soccer Game

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A September 28 Winooski-Oxbow game - DARIA BISHOP ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Daria Bishop ©️ Seven Days
  • A September 28 Winooski-Oxbow game
Updated at 11:21 a.m.

Under pressure from two media organizations, the Vermont Principals' Association reversed a decision to ban the press from Tuesday's playoff semifinal soccer game between Winooski and Enosburg Falls high schools. The new decision, which was finalized Tuesday morning, allows members of the media to attend the match but not fans.

The reversal came after a discussion Monday night with superintendents from both school districts, Vermont Principals' Association executive director Jay Nichols said.

Winooski "thought not having the media there would calm things down," Nichols said. But "after a lot of thought," the Winooski School District, the Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union and the Vermont Principals' Association, which governs high school sports, "decided collectively that having the media there would be fine."

Team members, coaches, officials and school administrators can also attend the game. It will be played at Burlington High School, a neutral field.

The Vermont Principals' Association had announced Monday morning that neither fans nor media would be allowed to attend the game "to ensure the physical and emotional safety of all student-athletes involved." Both teams had been in the spotlight in recent weeks after a heated, physical September 18 match that led to allegations of racism and on-field assault.
On Monday afternoon, the Vermont Press Association and the Vermont Sports Media Association jointly filed an objection to the proposed media ban. In a press release, the organizations' executive director Mike Donoghue wrote that "both associations and various individual members had raised objections" and called the exclusion of credentialed news media "concerning."



Reached Tuesday morning, Donoghue said the press org was "pleased to learn" of the ban reversal. He had hoped that Winooski would hold an emergency school board meeting on Monday night so the issue could be addressed publicly.

"When we didn't get a reaction, there was legal action contemplated to ensure that there would be media coverage for the game," Donoghue said.

The game will take place at 3:30 p.m. at Burlington High School and will be livestreamed by Town Meeting TV. Spectators can watch here