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National Women’s Team calls on Canada Soccer to oppose ‘culture of abuse’

By on October 23, 2021 0

Canada’s National Women’s Soccer Team calls on Canada Soccer, the governing body of sport in this country, to help combat what it says is a culture of abuse and silence.

The team, which faces the Football Ferns of New Zealand on Saturday in Ottawa in the Celebration Tour opener to score its gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, sent a letter and list of demands to several senior Canada Soccer officials. Friday. night.

In a call for support, the team’s letter refers to recent allegations of coercion and sexual abuse that rocked the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and the case of Bob Birarda, former Whitecaps coach of Vancouver and the U20 Women’s National Team, which faces nine gender-related charges in British Columbia.

“With everything that has happened in recent times with the NWSL, we have recognized the power of the collective and how important it is to oppose a culture of abuse and silence,” the report reads. letter.

“The Canadian Soccer Association issued a statement regarding what was going on in the NWSL that had no place in the sport, and we agree. But to move forward in our country, we believe that several things must be done so that we can, once again, be leaders and role models for all Canadians. This type of abusive behavior is still happening, at this time, in many [National Sport Organizations] Across the country.”

The letter made three specific demands for commitment, responsibility and guarantee of safe sport:

“We call on Canada Soccer, its board of directors, officers and coaching staff to make a public and unequivocal commitment to the Canadian soccer community in order to create a safe environment for our athletes. We also ask Canada Soccer to apologize to those who have been victimized and abused while playing the sport they love.

“We call on Canada Soccer to open a transparent and independent investigation into the allegations against Bob Birarda during his time with the organization in order to fully understand what happened and to develop recommendations and best practices to better protect our athletes.

“We call on the Canadian government to protect Canada’s vulnerable athletes by making the Independent Safe Sport Mechanism mandatory for all national sport organizations by the end of 2021.”

Shortly before kick-off on Saturday afternoon, Canada Soccer agreed to the conditions.

The letter also said that Canada and New Zealand would observe a minute’s silence at the start of Saturday’s game to “show our solidarity with the victims of our sport, but also of all sports, acknowledging the abuses that have occurred and that we demand silence and the abuses end now.

Goalkeeper Erin McLeod, who has been on the national program since 2002, spoke to TSN on Friday and confirmed that the letter and the minute of silence were voted on by the players.

“We are just asking for recognition,” she said. “I know it’s a winning tour, and I also know how important it is, but we had a vote yesterday on the minute of silence and the demands and it was unanimous. One hundred percent of the team agrees that it is much more important. We have the possibility of a significant change.

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