Major League Soccer

Former Vancouver Whitecaps players urge MLS to publish investigation findings

Lizzy Becherano
Former players of Vancouver Whitecaps women's team urge investigation findings to be made public
Former players of Vancouver Whitecaps women's team urge investigation findings to be made public / Ned Dishman/GettyImages

Former Vancouver Whitecaps players have voiced their support for Major League Soccer's investigation into how the club handled allegations of abuse, also urging the findings be made public.  

The Professional Footballers Association Canada released a statement on behalf of the players on Monday, praising MLS for seeking a "highly credible" firm to lead the investigation while also claiming that the athletes affected needed to have a say in the scope and mandate.

"It is not clear that the MLS investigation and Canada Soccer review will do anything to ensure the safety and well-being of athletes in the system moving forward, which is of paramount concern and motivation to us," the statement read. 

"These processes also do not address the collective trauma that we have experienced at the hands of the Vancouver Whitecaps, and Canada Soccer, by their silence for over a decade."

The American league hired Janice Rubin and Melody Jahanzadeh of Rubin Thomlinson LLP to conduct the independent review of the Vancouver Whitecaps. 

Several players that formed part of the team from 2008 to 2011 came forward to report several misconduct allegations against former coaches Bob Birarda and Hubert Busby Jr.

Busby has been accused of pressuring a former player for sex in 2011 when he served as head coach of the Whitecaps women’s team. These allegations have not been revised in court. 

Birarda, on the other hand, has been charged with six counts of sexual exploitation, two counts of sexual assault and one count of child luring. He served as a former coach for both the Whitecaps women's team and the Canadian under-20 women's team. 

Whitecaps CEO Axel Schuster told The Canadian Press he fully supports the requests and will "do everything that is necessary" to support the investigation.