Topics & Questions for Inclusion in the Independent Review Being Commissioned by the Whitecaps
For background information on the ongoing scandal involving the Whitecaps & the Canada Soccer Association, please refer to
On Tuesday, May 7th, representatives of Whitecaps supporters groups Curva Collective and the Vancouver Southsiders met with Whitecaps executives and minority owner Jeff Mallett. This was the second meeting stemming from protests organized by supporters over the Whitecaps handling, both past and present, of the many issues we’ve seen at the club over the years. These issues include, but are not limited to, the concerns brought forward by Ciara McCormack and the former U20 Canadian Women’s National Team players.
During the May 7th meeting the subject of an internal review being commissioned by the Whitecaps, covering internal policies as well as actions taken by the Whitecaps organization from 2007 to present, was brought up. We are extremely interested in the scope of the review, which we understand had not yet been finalized as the party conducting the review had not been selected at that time.
We believe that any review of the Whitecaps actions must address the topics below, and hope to see answers to the specific questions we have put forward. Note that some of these questions were sent to the Whitecaps on the morning of May 7th. Supporters asked for written responses within 48 hours. While some of our questions were answered either indirectly or after being asked explicitly in the meeting, the majority have not been addressed at all.
Topics of Interest
- The ombudsman & the reports generated from the independent investigations in 2007 / 2008
- The role of the VPD / police liaison at the Whitecaps, and in relation to many of the other issues
- The handling of the incidents of harassment & abuse in 2007, 2008 & 2011 brought forward by Ciara McCormack and the former U20 players
- The present handling of the many issues brought forward in the past months
- The hiring of Brett Adams in 2013
- The Whitecaps handling of the assault of a residency player in 2017
Questions sent to the Whitecaps May 7th
- How was the ombudsman selected to lead the independent investigations?
- What credentials or qualifications did that individual hold as an ombudsman or mediator?
- Did the ombudsman have any relationships, personal or professional, with past or present owners or executives of the Whitecaps before being selected for the work in 2007 & 2008?
- What was the scope of work defined for the ombudsman’s investigations?
- What is your current expected timeline on releasing the ombudsman’s report(s) to the former players?
- What current impediments exist to releasing the ombudsman’s reports?
- Who decided that Mr Mallet would do a private audience with media partners on May 1st instead of an open press conference with those who have been asking for comment previously?
- When will ownership be made available to answer questions from all media?
- When will executives be made available to answer questions from all media?
- How did the decision to terminate Mr Birarda’s employment for cause turn into ‘mutually parting ways’, a factor that reportedly played heavily in his ability to be hired to coach young girls soon after leaving the Whitecaps and U20 team?
- What contact was made and when, formally or informally, between Mr Birarda’s prospective new employer and the Whitecaps?
- At what point were executives aware that Mr Birarda was continuing to coach young women?
- Why was nothing done when this fact was raised by Ciara on October 28, 2011?
- Will you publish your current policies that are relevant to the review being commissioned?
- Please provide the scope and aims of the policy review being commissioned.
- On November 5, 2018, Canada Soccer announced that it had signed an agreement with Respect in Sport. Respect in Sport was founded by former NHL hockey player Sheldon Kennedy is aimed at preventing abuse in sport through coursework for coaches and team officials working with young athletes. All coaches participating in Canada Soccer’s licensing programs are now required to complete a soccer-specific coaching module. Have all of the Whitecaps youth coaches completed this module and if not, is there a timeline requiring them to do so?
- At our meeting on Saturday April 27th, 2019 Rachel and Jeff both claimed that they had not been approached by any of the women players with their concerns since 2008. Why was this statement made to those at the meeting when it seems clear that Ciara McCormack had come forward to several executives on multiple occasions?
- Provide a timeline of events in 2017.
- When was the club made aware of the assault [in 2017]?
- Who from the club was in contact with the victim’s family and when?
- Who contacted the RCMP to initially report the assault and at what date & time?
- Who at the club was involved in directing the club’s actions in relation to this matter?
- What support was given or arranged by the club for the victim?
- What support was given or arranged by the club for the other members of the team who witnessed the assault?
- What changes, if any, were made at the club to prevent a similar horrific situation from occurring in the future?
- In the April 27th meeting, you claimed that you publicly refuted many details reported about the 2017 assault. Where has this been published?
- What are the specific details that you refute in the news stories published about this topic?
Additional questions not previously sent
- Who approved the contents of the initial statements made earlier this year?
- Who approved the amendment to the earlier statements issued April 1st?
- Who approved the “letter to the Whitecaps Community” released April 17th?
- For what reasons do the Whitecaps maintain a police liaison?
- Is the police liaison an employee or contractor brought in as needed?
- What role has the police liaisons played in the handling of any of the allegations from 2007, 2008, 2011 or 2017?
- At what point did the Whitecaps contact Mr Adams about joining the organization as a youth coach?
- At what point were the Whitecaps made aware of the of racist actions that led to Mr Adams employment being terminated with Notts County?
- At what point was it decided to employ Mr Adams?
- What role did or does Mr Adams have, if any, in selecting which children proceed further along the professional development pathway?
- Have there been any incidents involving racist speech, action, or other instances of discrimination reported since Mr Adams joined the club?
- At the particular academy center that employs Mr Adams, what is the process for a player or player’s family to report an instance of discrimination?
If you feel there is a topic that should be included, or a particular question that you hope the review should answer, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can include your concern.