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updated: 8/31/2011 6:55 PM

No compromise in Lombard soccer field dispute

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Three soccer teams that split from the club affiliated with Lombard Park District can't play on park land, but that doesn't mean they lack a home field.

Roughly 50 teenage girls on the newly formed Infinity Soccer Club will play on fields rented from Butterfield Park District, which serves unincorporated areas near Lombard, founder Stefano Durdic said.

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It's a solution, but not the one Durdic was looking for when he approached Lombard Park District's board of commissioners in July seeking permission to rent fields.

The park district has a policy against renting soccer fields to clubs other than those officially affiliated with the district, Deputy Director Rick Poole said.

But Durdic said he presented "ideas and opportunities within the context of the existing policy for them to allow us to use the fields."

Park board President Jan Mills said in July the board would consider amending the policy. But at the board's August meeting, commissioners chose only to change a policy regarding affiliated groups.

The new policy says affiliates must promote an activity that is not offered by the park district "or other affiliates of the district," Poole said.

And because the park district already has a soccer affiliate, Firebirds Soccer Club, Infinity cannot gain affiliate status -- or the field rental rights that come with it.

Durdic called the timing of the change "highly suspect."

"Rather than trying to come up with a solution, they took the opportunity to close the loopholes," he said.

Commissioner Greg Ludwig said one solution still remains. If Infinity forms a relationship with Firebirds, the club could become an affiliate within an affiliate and gain the ability to play on park district fields.

That would require a meeting between Durdic and Firebirds President Andy Draus, something both men said they are open to. Ludwig said he is willing to mediate and explain what's possible within park district policies.

The meeting is yet to be scheduled.

But the field rental issue is broader than Infinity's request, Poole said.

"It goes beyond just finding time slots for additional teams," he said. "It has to do with setting precedents to outside groups."

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