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Patrick

Whitecaps, BCSA, CSA accused of serial sexual abuse cover ups

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6 hours ago, BuzzAndSting said:

I totally disagree. We don't have a precedent for making such statements and we don't have the ability to come to a consensus on what we would say.

Maybe there ought to be a point in the Mission statement of our Constitution something along the lines of...  The Voyageurs condemns any acts of abuse, harassment or persecution by officials towards other officials and players of any age.

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3 hours ago, The Ref said:

Maybe there ought to be a point in the Mission statement of our Constitution something along the lines of...  The Voyageurs condemns any acts of abuse, harassment or persecution by officials towards other officials and players of any age.

And that in itself would be a good start. it's better than saying nothing, which can be perceived as tolerance for what has happened. How can we say we support women athletes when it's being suggested that we can't even come to a consensus to condemn sexual violence.

 

Another statement came out today, this time by former U20 player Hana Taiji.

https://2008u20statement.wordpress.com/2019/04/08/a-personal-statement-by-hana-taiji/

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44 minutes ago, yellowsweatygorilla said:

And that in itself would be a good start. it's better than saying nothing, which can be perceived as tolerance for what has happened.

Anyone who would jump to the conclusion of us being tolerant of Birarda’s actions because we don’t issue a statement is not worth our consideration.

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1 hour ago, BuzzAndSting said:

Anyone who would jump to the conclusion of us being tolerant of Birarda’s actions because we don’t issue a statement is not worth our consideration.

I think it's a reasonable summation even though evidently untrue. At the very least, the presumption may be that Canadian supporters don't care about this issue. But ultimately, we shouldn't just be doing or not doing something for fear of perception. Here, we literally have a group of players calling for accountability... is our support limited to having them entertain us on the pitch?

But indulge me - what is the current sticking matter preventing a consensus on even a general condemnation of harassment/sexual violence such as what The Ref suggested? 

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This isn't really the type of organization that makes statements. There is no structure. No board of directors, no executive committee. It's more of a hive mind.

I'm also not sure now is the right point to engage. I think the point of due process is to allow it to run its course.  After a qualified independent body or bodies review all the information and publicly and transparently present that with their findings it might be a better point.

Really looking forward to that read and it's recommendations.

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17 minutes ago, Vic said:

This isn't really the type of organization that makes statements. There is no structure. No board of directors, no executive committee. It's more of a hive mind.

I'm also not sure now is the right point to engage. I think the point of due process is to allow it to run its course.  After a qualified independent body or bodies review all the information and publicly and transparently present that with their findings it might be a better point.

Really looking forward to that read and it's recommendations.

Apologies but has a review been commissioned? I would be delighted if it has but I fear this will get ignored until it disappears.

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Posted (edited)

I could have sworn I read somewhere it was going to be. May have just been like you though and my hope getting the better of my memory.

I think it's one of those things that really can't be avoided, anyone who ignores it now with the documentation and support it has is knowingly culpable.

And if there is no movement you find a good high level politician and then all parties wish they were more proactive in getting out in front if it.

Edited by Vic
mobile keyboard autocorrect argh

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2 hours ago, Vic said:

This isn't really the type of organization that makes statements. There is no structure. No board of directors, no executive committee. It's more of a hive mind.

I'm also not sure now is the right point to engage. I think the point of due process is to allow it to run its course.  After a qualified independent body or bodies review all the information and publicly and transparently present that with their findings it might be a better point.

Really looking forward to that read and it's recommendations.

This has been going on for 11 years.  How much longer to wait for it to run its course?  Enough is enough.  Otherwise we as Voyageurs are condoning just like the authorities and soccer organizations.

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Yes and no. It hasn't been going on for 11 years in the public sphere, more like a couple months, and even that's mostly to people who follow women's soccer. It's just coming into the broader realm now and has inertia and traction and a life of it's own already

Even if the group was one that had proper governance and could make policy statements, what do you say? That it believes in the laws of the country and the general sport policies of pretty much every sport in the country including soccer? Isn't that a given? How could anyone ever come out and say anything to the contrary.

What exactly do you say? Who writes it? How do we as a membership of massive numbers come to consensus and agreement? How many iterations is that? How long does it take? Who approves it? Is it checked by a lawyer? Who pays for that?

There are people regularly convicted for assaulting minors in Canadian soccer in horrific ways. In the UK I believe you cannot have a club charter without a Welfare Officer. I think that would be a good outcome here with the additional step of some variant of the role in our national programs. The recent Australian situation would lend credence to that as well.

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Top of the list:

What criteria must be satisfied to achieve the entry-level club award?

Criteria include:

  • Having an FA-trained Club Welfare Officer
  • An FA Level 1 coach for each youth team (U18 and below) 
  • Criminal Record Checks (CRC) for all volunteers involved in youth football teams
  • FA Emergency Aid-trained volunteers linked to each team
  • Sign-up to and deliver The FA’s Respect programme
  • Appropriate administration governance in place – in relation to the club’s size
  • An FA Charter Standard Co-ordinator recruited for each club.

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Vic, this was first made public in 2008 and I knew about it back then.  I remember writing to a friend about it.  So when the name Birarda came to light again, it reminded me of the past.

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I guess this is a start for a response going forward.

https://www.canadasoccer.com/canadian-soccer-leaders-unanimously-support-canada-soccer-safe-sport-roster-p162158

"The Canada Soccer Safe Sport Roster combines the benefits of mandatory certification for all coaches, a sophisticated Club Licensing Program, National Soccer Registry, Whistleblower Policy and Hotline, Code of Conduct and Ethics, and concussion protocols to create the best possible conditions for players, coaches, referees and administrators."

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It's a start but it misses some key points.  First, Bob Birarda had those certifications and they were not revoked after he was dismissed from both the Whitecaps and the CSA.  If he was dismissed for cause and that cause was inappropriate contact with players, especially if it was sexualized contact, then why weren't his licences revoked?  How did he end up coaching youth girls again?

The second issue is the narrow pathway for girls.  I can only speak to BC but here the pathway is so narrow one coach can block a talented girl's progress with ease.  At U13 girls either get selected to a BCSPL team or they are pretty much done with developmental soccer.  There are 8 teams in BC at that level, 6 in the lower mainland and 1 each in Kelowna and the Island. If you are lucky and live in Burnaby, Coquitlam, or Surrey, you might be able to try-out for two or even three of those teams but interior or Island girls have one option.  The potential for abuse is huge.  You have to be on one of those teams to be considered for the provincial team program, the Whitecaps HPP, or the REX program.

Imagine the pressure to excel at 11 years old or your career in soccer is over!  Then imagine you have beaten all the odds and are 16 or 17 and your chance to get in to the HPP or REX is dependent on whether your coach plays you.  The potential for abuse is huge.  The fact that Bob Birarda was coaching one of those gate-keeping teams should scare anyone with a daughter showing soccer potential.

The system as it stands today not only allows gatekeeping by coaches, it also puts enormous financial and physical demands on players who haven't even hit their teen years.  God forbid a girl doesn't develop in to a mature body by age 12!  And let's hope her parents have $3000 in disposable income for the BCSPL fees, and more if she wants to train with a private academy, too.  The system forces parents to make decisions about their daughter's potential ability and desire when they are still more interested in Barbie's than soccer balls.  It's nuts, frankly, and this is the CSA's fault.

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8 hours ago, Patrick said:

It's a start but it misses some key points.  First, Bob Birarda had those certifications and they were not revoked after he was dismissed from both the Whitecaps and the CSA.  If he was dismissed for cause and that cause was inappropriate contact with players, especially if it was sexualized contact, then why weren't his licences revoked?  How did he end up coaching youth girls again?

The second issue is the narrow pathway for girls.  I can only speak to BC but here the pathway is so narrow one coach can block a talented girl's progress with ease.  At U13 girls either get selected to a BCSPL team or they are pretty much done with developmental soccer.  There are 8 teams in BC at that level, 6 in the lower mainland and 1 each in Kelowna and the Island. If you are lucky and live in Burnaby, Coquitlam, or Surrey, you might be able to try-out for two or even three of those teams but interior or Island girls have one option.  The potential for abuse is huge.  You have to be on one of those teams to be considered for the provincial team program, the Whitecaps HPP, or the REX program.

Imagine the pressure to excel at 11 years old or your career in soccer is over!  Then imagine you have beaten all the odds and are 16 or 17 and your chance to get in to the HPP or REX is dependent on whether your coach plays you.  The potential for abuse is huge.  The fact that Bob Birarda was coaching one of those gate-keeping teams should scare anyone with a daughter showing soccer potential.

The system as it stands today not only allows gatekeeping by coaches, it also puts enormous financial and physical demands on players who haven't even hit their teen years.  God forbid a girl doesn't develop in to a mature body by age 12!  And let's hope her parents have $3000 in disposable income for the BCSPL fees, and more if she wants to train with a private academy, too.  The system forces parents to make decisions about their daughter's potential ability and desire when they are still more interested in Barbie's than soccer balls.  It's nuts, frankly, and this is the CSA's fault.

It would seem that limited options for development, a weak elite structure, so few teams, lack of proactive policies for girls development, are all more directly on the BCSA. 

What have we heard from their board with regards to this case, since it affects them as directly as the CSA?

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Posted (edited)

It's the CSA's fault because they are the body mandating this development pathway.  The BCSA isn't blameless but they never hired nor fired Bob Birarda.  In implementing the CSA's development pathway they are only doing what yhey are told to do. 

Can they be more flexible in how they do things?  I think so.  I think limiting the number of teams in the BCSPL to eight is a problem.  In fact, I think they do it for their convenience to make scouting easier.  If so, its a lazy and hurtful policy.

Edited by Patrick

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10 hours ago, Patrick said:

It's a start but it misses some key points.  First, Bob Birarda had those certifications and they were not revoked after he was dismissed from both the Whitecaps and the CSA.  If he was dismissed for cause and that cause was inappropriate contact with players, especially if it was sexualized contact, then why weren't his licences revoked?  How did he end up coaching youth girls again?

The second issue is the narrow pathway for girls.  I can only speak to BC but here the pathway is so narrow one coach can block a talented girl's progress with ease.  At U13 girls either get selected to a BCSPL team or they are pretty much done with developmental soccer.  There are 8 teams in BC at that level, 6 in the lower mainland and 1 each in Kelowna and the Island. If you are lucky and live in Burnaby, Coquitlam, or Surrey, you might be able to try-out for two or even three of those teams but interior or Island girls have one option.  The potential for abuse is huge.  You have to be on one of those teams to be considered for the provincial team program, the Whitecaps HPP, or the REX program.

Imagine the pressure to excel at 11 years old or your career in soccer is over!  Then imagine you have beaten all the odds and are 16 or 17 and your chance to get in to the HPP or REX is dependent on whether your coach plays you.  The potential for abuse is huge.  The fact that Bob Birarda was coaching one of those gate-keeping teams should scare anyone with a daughter showing soccer potential.

The system as it stands today not only allows gatekeeping by coaches, it also puts enormous financial and physical demands on players who haven't even hit their teen years.  God forbid a girl doesn't develop in to a mature body by age 12!  And let's hope her parents have $3000 in disposable income for the BCSPL fees, and more if she wants to train with a private academy, too.  The system forces parents to make decisions about their daughter's potential ability and desire when they are still more interested in Barbie's than soccer balls.  It's nuts, frankly, and this is the CSA's fault.

Fully agree.  A couple of times I attended BCSoccer alleged ID camps and they were a joke.  The very few selected players were not the best but they had connections.  I hope Birarda is prohibited for life to coach any age and any gender.  Those responsible should also be severely punished.

 

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14 hours ago, Patrick said:

It's a start but it misses some key points.  First, Bob Birarda had those certifications and they were not revoked after he was dismissed from both the Whitecaps and the CSA.  If he was dismissed for cause and that cause was inappropriate contact with players, especially if it was sexualized contact, then why weren't his licences revoked?  How did he end up coaching youth girls again?

You seem to have an issue telling the difference between administrative procedures and an actual legal case.

Allegations doesn't equal wrongdoing.

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10 hours ago, DoyleG said:

You seem to have an issue telling the difference between administrative procedures and an actual legal case.

Allegations doesn't equal wrongdoing.

Coaching certifications are not "legal", @DoyleG, you can revoke them because they are subject to internal accreditation procedures. A coach does not have to be legally charged to lose such certifications, if that is the regulation. 

I don't really understand your point. A coach can lose the possibility to perform his job in certain circumstances without having been charged and sentenced in a court of law.

 

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5 hours ago, Unnamed Trialist said:

Coaching certifications are not "legal", @DoyleG, you can revoke them because they are subject to internal accreditation procedures. A coach does not have to be legally charged to lose such certifications, if that is the regulation. 

I don't really understand your point. A coach can lose the possibility to perform his job in certain circumstances without having been charged and sentenced in a court of law.

 

A coach can seek a legal response even if he is fired "with due cause". 

Its no different than having this happen in the legal or medical profession, as losing such a license effectively ends your professional career.

Its easy for people to come onto this thread and say someone is guilty without any real clear proof. Of course, those people are the same ones who end up paying in the end for spreading such stories.

Unless there is someone prepared to seek an actual legal remedy, then it is better not to speak about the subject.

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8 minutes ago, DoyleG said:

Unless there is someone prepared to seek an actual legal remedy, then it is better not to speak about the subject.

Are you Bob Birarda's lawyer?  'Cause if you're not you shouldn't be threatening legal action on his behalf.  The Whitecaps have referred the allegations to the police, there are 14ish women making these allegations, and the media has reported extensively on this.  AFAIK none of these people have been served with a libel notice. 

As for Bob Birarda's licence to coach, yes, he would have a right to appeal any removal  but so far the CSA hasn't done that.  I think it is more than fair to question why the CSA have not done that given the fact that the allegations of sexual misconduct were made and both the CSA and the Whitecaps felt there was enough there to fire him.  So far neither the Whitecaps, the CSA, nor Bob Birarda, have denied these allegations.  In fact, the Whitecaps have claimed they investigated the allegations made and fired Birarda because of them.  So unless you have something up your sleeve that will turn this scandal on its head all you're doing is trying to scare people, the exact same tactic that was used to silence these women in 2008.  It's disgusting, really.

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, DoyleG said:

A coach can seek a legal response even if he is fired "with due cause". 

Its no different than having this happen in the legal or medical profession, as losing such a license effectively ends your professional career.

Its easy for people to come onto this thread and say someone is guilty without any real clear proof. Of course, those people are the same ones who end up paying in the end for spreading such stories.

Unless there is someone prepared to seek an actual legal remedy, then it is better not to speak about the subject.

I have no idea what you are talking about:

If you want, as a prof, I could explain the serious risks involved with the profession, and how false accusation does indeed exist, sexual, or related to something said in class about race, gender, social topics. I know exactly what we are talking about, and how an anonymous letter to a dean or similar can destroy you emotionally for months while you are simply working through the malicious accusation. Some stuff is so crazy it would be funny, except that there are people out there who will take craziness to extremes. I have colleagues who have illegally recorded conversations with students because they were sure there was an attempt to blackball them--better that than let a false accusation fester.

Fortunately, competent people in positions of responsibility know how to evaluate what is valid, what most likely is not. And go from there. If there are protocols in place, better. 

That said, you are also being a bit of a prick to argue that a person's testimony constitutes zero proof, especially when it has been widely corroborated by her peers and actually has been recognized to have validity by third parties. That is proof, and since there is no trial, nor any reopened hearing, it is as proof as the world gets: someone's word. Don't confuse the statements of nut cases with what the person in question explained  went on years ago in the Caps organisation.

 

Edited by Unnamed Trialist

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