Vancouver Whitecaps Fans Stage Walkout in Protest at Club's Response to Abuse Allegations
Members of two Vancouver Whitecaps supporters’ groups staged a walkout during a game against Los Angeles FC on April 17 in protest at the club’s response to allegations of abuse against a former women’s coach.
The fans, numbering in their hundreds according to one reporter, left their seats in the 35th minute of the game.
Thirteen former players say they witnessed “incidents of abuse, manipulation, or inappropriate behavior” by coach Bob Biranda in 2007 and 2008, when he was with the Whitecaps and the U-20 Canadian women’s national team.
The statement includes claims that Biranda touched one of the players inappropriately, sent at least one text message of a sexual nature to a player, and held a private meeting with one of the players in his hotel room.
The Whitecaps issued a statement ahead of the protest and said they were in “active communication” with the Vancouver Police Department.
“In light of the specific details contained in a blog dated April 1, 2019, we were concerned there may be new information related to this matter that did not come forward in 2008 or since.
Therefore, we immediately contacted the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) to ensure they were aware of the blog and could assess if further action or review is required," the statement The club went on to say they’re “initiating an independent third-party review and assessment of our respectful workplace policies procedures.” Credit: Rebecca Bollwitt via Storyful