It's said that possession is nine-tenths of the law, and that claim is one of many that the Fraser Valley Soccer League said strengthens their refusal to ever hand over the fabled Pakenham Cup to a group of Mission residents who say it belongs in its original location.
Thomas Mills, the executive director of the FVSL, which features several teams from Abbotsford, said the article about the cup in the Oct. 7 edition of the Mission City Record alarmed and insulted his league.
He said the trophy was never stored in a closet, like Coun. Jim Hinds claimed, that it was on display in their front office in Langley. But since the article came out, Mills said the trophy has been moved to a secret location.
"We have the original trophy but I'm not telling the City of Mission where it is now," Mills said. "It's in possession of the league. We have had it on display in the office, but as soon as the article came out we removed it because someone could come and take it. We're now not risking exposing this trophy to be taken."
Mills said the FVSL treats the cup with respect and have tried to keep Mission involved, but locals have not been overly enthusiastic about the league or the cup.
"Mission City was chosen as the site for the cup game but it's changed over the years," he said. "We've tried to pay respect to that and were committed to having the final game there every 10 years. We were there in 2005, and, to be honest, the City of Mission didn't lift a finger to help us. This is where I chuckle, and wonder why they suddenly want the trophy."
He pointed out that the league has paid for all the maintenance and upkeep of the trophy over the years, and said that he disputes the fact that Hinds referred to Mission as the cup's hometown.
"Its true hometown is the Fraser Valley district," he said. "We've tried to play the final in Mission before, like in 2005, but the protocol and facility requirements have gone far beyond what Mission can offer."
Mills said the discussions between the two groups got off on the wrong foot when the league was threatened with legal action from the City of Mission to return the cup. He also said that any idea of a new competition in Mission to play for the cup would diminish its value.
"What they should be asking us is how they can get our league final in Mission again," he said. "They haven't approached us in a friendly action, from threatening legal action to making statements like we keep the trophy in a closet."
He said there is no chance the cup will ever be kept on display in Mission, which was the dream of the group of locals attempting to bring it back to Mission.