Canada Soccer Association Botch Sexual Harassment Allegations Against U-20 National Coach


The Canadian Soccer Association botched its response to sexual harassment made in opposition to former Under-20 girls’s nationwide group coach Bob Birarda, a evaluate into the scandal revealed on Thursday.

The evaluate, led by Canadian professor Richard McLaren, discovered that Canadian soccer authorities mishandled in made in opposition to Birarda, who left his submit in 2008.

“This review spells out in black and white how the CSA mishandled the 2008 harassment,” McLaren mentioned.

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“It provides a timeline of actions, details how policies were not followed, and outlines a pattern of not documenting decisions that has ultimately resulted in frustration and anger by players that continues today.”

The evaluate discovered that regardless of a vote by the CSA’s govt committee to terminate Birarda’s employment after an investigator advisable he ought to not be allowed to teach, the group as a substitute introduced a “mutual parting of ways”.

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“By not following through with the vote to terminate Birarda for cause, the CSA did a disservice to the players by not acknowledging his harassment as the reason for his removal,” McLaren mentioned.

“There was no acknowledgment of the complaints or their impact on the players. Moreover, failure to terminate Birarda allowed him to continue coaching, putting other players at potential risk.”

Birarda is awaiting sentencing in Canada after pleading responsible in February to 4 counts of sexual assault and sexual touching referring to 4 teenage gamers he coached between 1988 and 2008.

McLaren’s evaluate discovered that whereas Canadian soccer had harassment insurance policies in place in 2008, senior officers have been unfamiliar with how the coverage labored.

Players have been additionally confused at how the harassment needs to be reported.

“We hope that our review can be a stepping stone to rebuilding trust amongst players and Canada Soccer,” McLaren mentioned.

In an announcement, Canada Soccer common secretary Earl Cochrane mentioned the group had let gamers down.

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“We acknowledge that the matters we are speaking about today involve real people and have a real impact on human lives,” Cochrane mentioned.

“We unequivocally apologise for the Safe Sport challenges inside our sport in 2008 and for letting members down.

“Harassment, improper texting, bullying, sexual misconduct or any other form of maltreatment or abuse has no place in soccer, at any level in our country.”

Canada Soccer has since applied a spread of measures designed to keep away from a repeat of the scandal, together with a whistleblower coverage and a nationwide soccer registry, and an enhanced disciplinary code which units out clearly how misconduct complaints needs to be reported and dealt with.

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