Whitecaps rocked by latest allegation of sexual misconduct, put executive on leave – .

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Whitecaps rocked by latest allegation of sexual misconduct, put executive on leave – .


“I can’t change something that happened some time ago. I can only try to change things now, to do better and to give people back the confidence that the club has really really changed. “- Axel Schuster

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The Vancouver Whitecaps have put several members of their management team on administrative leave after allegations of sexual misconduct by a former coach of the women’s team were reported Thursday.

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Malloree Enoch detailed her story to the Guardian’s Matthew Hall in an article published Friday. She accused former female coach Hubert Busby Jr. of attempting to solicit sex while she was being drafted into the team in 2011.

The team sent out a press release at 5 p.m. on Friday to deal with the situation. The Guardian had contacted the team on several occasions for comment starting on October 19.

“We are very disturbed by the details that were released recently regarding Malloree Enoch’s experience in 2010 and 2011 with the club’s former women’s head coach, Hubert Busby Jr.

“The courage it takes to come forward cannot be overstated. We respect Malloree’s bravery, appreciate her honesty, and fully support her. We apologize to Malloree for letting her down.

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“Club management became aware of the allegations against Busby at the end of the 2011 season and quickly secured the services of an independent mediator to oversee an investigation into the case, which ultimately led to Busby’s departure. We have since learned that the investigation did not reveal some of the allegations that came to light this week. Our communication with players, staff and the soccer community as to why Busby left was also inadequate. We should have done better and we are very sorry for that. “

Axel Schuster, who was hired as the team’s sporting director in 2019 and added the title of CEO in 2020, said on Friday afternoon that any executive who was involved in decisions at the time and who does still part of the club was put on leave. He declined to comment on who, in particular, citing the ongoing investigation.

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The club’s website lists Rachel Lewis (COO), Greg Anderson (VP, Football Operations), Dan Lenarduzzi (VP, Football Development) and Bob Lenarduzzi (Club Liaison) as members of the executive branch of the team. . All three were part of the organization in 2010 and 2011. Don Ford, who has been with the club since 2011, is also listed, but as vice president, finance and administration, and it is unlikely that he was. involved in personnel matters.

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Schuster said he contacted Enoch to apologize for the team’s failure to respond to his allegations at the time. This is the fourth incident of sexual misconduct reported at the club involving a player, academy player or coach since 2009.

On Thursday evening, in a previously scheduled call with fan groups, he was candid about the club’s current position. Schuster admitted that the team had lost the trust of many of its fans because of the way the previous incidents had been handled publicly.

He also held an all staff meeting late Friday afternoon to brief club employees on the current situation.

“We’ve only just proven that we’re good on the pitch, and… (it’s about time) the club are also reaching a level that allows us to prove off the pitch that we’re doing things right. And for this reason, it was very serious for me to invest a lot of hours in this, to prove that if it relates to my name, we are doing it in the best possible way, ”Schuster told Postmedia.

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“I can’t change something that happened some time ago. I can only try to change things now, to do better and to give people back the confidence that the club has really changed.

“And of course, if you have such an exciting time on Wednesday night … yes, there is a moment of frustration,” he added, referring to the team’s big win on the field against Minnesota which propelled them into a playoff berth, only to then crash. down to earth with the story of the Guardian from Thursday.

Former Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Hubert Busby Jr. speaks with a player on May 10, 2011. Photo by Steve Bosch /PROVINCE

Late Friday afternoon, MLS Headquarters also released a statement saying it would “hire an independent lawyer to oversee a full investigation into how the Vancouver Whitecaps organization handled the allegations of misconduct made. by members of the Whitecaps women’s team in 2011 against their former coach, Hubert Busby Jr.

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“The investigation will include a review of internal processes and the club’s overall culture at the time, as well as recommendations on preventative measures to ensure that all players and staff… are working in a safe environment. “

The league has promised to publish its findings and recommendations. Schuster has not confirmed how many people have been put on leave from the club, only that there was more than one, and that number could increase as the investigation progresses.

Enoch said she reported the incidents with Busby to Whitecaps executive Dan Lenarduzzi in August 2011. Busby was the women’s coach from 2010 to 2011. The team and coach went their separate ways in October 2011, when his contract was not renewed.

According to an email to players announcing Busby Jr.’s departure, published by News1130, Dan Lenarduzzi asked players not to discuss the situation in public or on social media.

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Busby has since held many other positions, including her current status as coach of the Jamaican Women’s National Team.

He denied the charges, according to media reports, including that of the Guardian. The Jamaican Football Association is aware of the information and has called a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the matter.

This is the fourth case of sexual misconduct involving former coaches or players of the Whitecaps organization.

Enoch’s allegations follow the 2020 arrest of Bob Birarda, former coach of the women’s and Canadian Under-23 team, stemming from allegations of abusive behavior and inappropriate conduct made in a Former player Ciara McCormack’s blog post in 2019.

Birada was charged with two counts of sexual assault and one count of luring children. Birarda, who became coach of Coastal FC’s women’s team after her stint with the Whitecaps, has yet to plead guilty and the charges have not been tested in court after numerous adjournments.

Last week, the women’s national team players demanded that Canada Soccer open an independent investigation into the matter.

In 2017, two members of the boys’ residence team were arrested and charged with one count of sexual assault following an allegation in the locker room.

In 2020, forward Anthony Blondell was charged with sexual assault following a 2018 incident.

Bell Media, a major sponsor of the team, has been contacted for comment but has yet to respond.

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