The Canterbury Mustangs say it's not fair that they're not playing for an A-Division title in the National Capital Amateur Football Association's peewee division.
They finished in a five-way tie for first place, with the other four teams advancing to the A-side.
"I don't think it's just a case of us feeling we were cheated," said Mustangs coach Dave Powell. "The problem is the constitution is flawed. Their interpretation gives them options. But it doesn't tell them what to do with a five-way tie."
League president Steve Dean says the first tie-breaker in the constitution goes back to head-to-head competition with the other teams. On that end, the Raiders were 0-2, losing close games to the Cumberland Panthers and the Gloucester Raiders.
The Myers Riders and Nepean Redskins were both 2-1 in head-to-head games, while the Panthers and Raiders were 2-2. Because there are 12 teams in the league, the teams don't always get a chance to play each other.
"There's no attempt to be punitive or pick on a team," said Dean. "The unfortunate part is that Canterbury is the fifth team. If we went through that tie-breaker and all the teams were still tied, we'd have to look at mini games if that was practical. There's not a lot of time. The games end on Sunday and playoffs start the following week."
There are other tiebreakers listed in the constitution, but Dean says they're listed in order of importance, with a coin flip being the final deciding factor, if necessary.
"In this case, the first criteria worked," said Dean.
That doesn't make it any easier for Canterbury.
"You have to give the kids the opportunity to put it on the field," said Powell. "Our kids feel like they got ripped off. A lot of kids have played their hearts out ... how can a group of grown men sit there and make a decision for them?"
"I know Canterbury is making some noise about how this is not fair," said Dean. "But we didn't make this up yesterday or the day before. The rules have been there for a number of years."