Major League Soccer (MLS) has announced that an independent third party will conduct a review of how the Vancouver Whitecaps responded to allegations of sexual misconduct against two former coaches.
Janice Rubin and Melody Jahanzadeh of Rubin Thomlinson LLP will investigate how the club managed complaints against former coaches Bob Birarda in 2008 and Hubert Busby Jr. in 2011.
The review will also look at current club policies and provide recommendations on preventive measures to ensure players and staff within the Whitecaps are free from harassment, abuse and retaliation.
The Whitecaps have been embroiled in controversy since former player Malloree Enoch spoke to The Guardian, a British newspaper, detailing allegations that Busby pressured her for sex while recruiting her to play for the Whitecaps.
At the end of the 2011 season, Whitecaps players wrote to club executives with their complaints about Busby, which led to an internal review. Busby parted ways with the Whitecaps, going on to coach for the Seattle Sounders. He also became the coach of the Jamaican National Women’s Football team in 2020 but was recently suspended over the allegations.
Jamaican Football Federation president Michael Ricketts said they will await the results of an investigation into Busby’s conduct before making a final decision on his future with the team.
Meanwhile, Birarda has been charged with six counts of sexual exploitation, two counts of sexual assault and one count of child luring that he allegedly committed over his coaching career. None of the allegations have been tested in court.
In a statement, MLS said they and the Whitecaps are committed to the process and have pledged to be cooperative with Rubin Thomlinson investigators. The findings and any recommendations made will be publicly released once the investigation is concluded.
Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.