MOSCOW — The director of the soccer tournament that Moscow Mayor Bill Lambert shut down Sunday over COVID-19 concerns apologized to Lambert and city staff, officials and residents at Monday’s Moscow City Council meeting.
“I had every intention of providing a safe and fun environment for a weekend of soccer,” Brandon Schreiner, director of the Eastern Washington Surf Soccer Club and the Harvest Cup soccer tournament, said during the meeting’s public comment and mayor’s response period. “I failed to properly deliver on one of those and for that I apologize.”
Lambert halted the Ash Rattler Wood Bat Tournament and the Harvest Cup soccer tournament — both of which drew large crowds from across the region to Moscow — on Sunday.
The tournaments together brought more than 100 baseball and soccer teams, coaches and parents to Moscow’s parks and playfields. Play at both tournaments was underway Sunday when city officials ordered them to halt at sometime after 9 a.m.
Lambert told the Daily News on Sunday the tournaments were canceled because too many people attending the events, particularly the Harvest Cup soccer matches, were not socially distancing or wearing masks.
“Quite simply, on Saturday we failed as a tournament to properly enforce masking and social distancing rules,” Schreiner said at Monday’s council meeting. “We had full compliance from our coaches and players on (the) team bench side. Unfortunately, we didn’t do quite as good a job on the spectator side of the field.”
Schreiner said fans were warned repeatedly to follow face mask and social distancing rules and that shutting down the tournament is “a decision I respect and 100 percent understand.”
He apologized to city staff and officials who had to deal with the issues over the weekend and to residents, noting it was not his intention to put people at risk for COVID-19.
Schreiner said he and tournament staff used safety precautions and cleaning protocols at the tournament, which took place at Mountain View Park, Oylear Field, Lena Whitmore Elementary School and McDonald Elementary School.
The baseball tournament took place at the Moscow School District Community Playfields and Ghormley Park.
Signs displaying the coronavirus-related rules were present and three tournament staff members cleaned and tried to enforce social distancing and mask rules, Schreiner said.
“Number one, don’t beat yourself up,” Lambert told Schreiner Monday. “One of the things that we discovered is these tournaments are just uncontrollable and I saw that with my own eyes on Saturday afternoon out there.”
Lambert told Schreiner he appreciated his remarks and wished him the best.
Lambert said Sunday he wants all sports events postponed temporarily in Moscow. The annual Mayor’s Golf Tournament held in August each year was canceled in April.
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