Bob Birarda done as Womens Whitecaps/ CSA Womens U-20 Gaffer

mtkb

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Mtkb you have a bizarre take on this whole thing. I get it, anyone can make allegations but does it really feel like that to you ? On top of that you said your background is the boys game and knew nothing about him. Why when he was hired as an HPL coach do you assume nobody knew of his past. Because they stayed quite?

My understanding was his name was seen in the paper after he coached his daughter to a national championship in HPL. That is what brought this to life. That he was still coaching girls in the same stream. That combined with the current climate made it the right time to tell the story.

I don’t think for a second they are lying. I also don’t think this is a criminal situation. This guy shouldn’t be coaching, successful coach or not. The white caps for their handling of this have questions to answer. I’m surprised Bobby L hasn’t had to walk the plank for this one to show fans they are taking it seriously.
We get into real trouble when we go by feel. There's a lot of smoke here, but the vast majority of it is double and even triple hearsay from Ciara, combined with a vague "go get em girl" from Andrea Neil. I've read Ciara's original post in full. I need more than what she offers to hang BB, and I won't apologize for that.

I know exactly what the BCSPL board was told about his hiring, because I was the MUFC rep at the time. I have a crystal clear recollection of how that discussion went, but because I'm not remotely convinced this matter doesn't end up in court at some point, I'm not going to share the content here.

You make an excellent point about BB being interviewed about winning nationals. Perhaps the fact that he was back coaching at u-17 is what triggered Ciara's post. Not that women should be dismissed out of hand for making dating allegations - they shouldn't - but this is by far the most logical explanation I've heard offered to date.

I don't say she's lying. I don't say she isn't lying. I don't know how reliable her allegations are, because I haven't seen the evidence. I don't necessarily mean saved texts - back in 2008 texting was so new that I'm not sure we can expect the texts to have been retained.

But, I would have expected at least one girl involved in one of the specific allegations Ciara relays via hearsay to come forward, somehow - even anonymously - and say "I'm the girl involved in that specific incident and what Ciara says is 100% accurate"... maybe someone can point me to that evidence, because I don't recall seeing it.

Given that, as much as I agree that I don't think it appropriate for BB to be anywhere near female soccer out of an abundance of caution, I reject the Spanish Inquisition approach of some other TTP'ers as premature and a quite likely overreach...
 

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Well that escalated.

Even though mtkb is at the head of the Holy Trinity (Lawyers, bankers, accountants…can’t talk with one without involving the others…amiright @Rangerforver ?), I’d still have a pint w/ you and like a lot of your POVs. Even your crazy non-sensical hate of Russel Tiebert.

This has become one of those social issues that is fairly poignant right now. A hell of a lot has changed in 10 years, socially.

What’s tough coaching vs. Bullying? Who decides? I was a tough coach, but also took great care to be fair to all players. Largely I think I was well liked by players, but who knows.

My best coaches were the ones toughest on me, the ones that won my respect.

Bullying is different, and I have to believe these players were bright enough to know the difference. Why did it take this long? Well, we’ve gone over it at nauseum but suspect it was mainly because he resurfaced, and the girls said, “Hell no”. Took matters into their own hands.

The law protects the innocent, we know that, but if twisted can also protect the guilty. I hope to hell that what we see is what we’ve got: a creep that crossed the line, was mentally abusive, and seemed to try and entice young women into sexually inappropriate situations, but was unsuccessful in doing so. That alone, BTW, is worthy of both a firing AND removal of all coaching licenses. It should have ended there, with all three bodies (WFC, BCSA, CSA) making certain this guy couldn’t coach again.

This is why the WFC leadership needs to be removed. They had the most direct hand in their lack of support of the situation, and as more emails have revealed, it wasn’t without the effort of Ciara to do it quietly.
 

okanaganfootie

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We get into real trouble when we go by feel. There's a lot of smoke here, but the vast majority of it is double and even triple hearsay from Ciara, combined with a vague "go get em girl" from Andrea Neil. I've read Ciara's original post in full. I need more than what she offers to hang BB, and I won't apologize for that.

I know exactly what the BCSPL board was told about his hiring, because I was the MUFC rep at the time. I have a crystal clear recollection of how that discussion went, but because I'm not remotely convinced this matter doesn't end up in court at some point, I'm not going to share the content here.

You make an excellent point about BB being interviewed about winning nationals. Perhaps the fact that he was back coaching at u-17 is what triggered Ciara's post. Not that women should be dismissed out of hand for making dating allegations - they shouldn't - but this is by far the most logical explanation I've heard offered to date.

I don't say she's lying. I don't say she isn't lying. I don't know how reliable her allegations are, because I haven't seen the evidence. I don't necessarily mean saved texts - back in 2008 texting was so new that I'm not sure we can expect the texts to have been retained.

But, I would have expected at least one girl involved in one of the specific allegations Ciara relays via hearsay to come forward, somehow - even anonymously - and say "I'm the girl involved in that specific incident and what Ciara says is 100% accurate"... maybe someone can point me to that evidence, because I don't recall seeing it.

Given that, as much as I agree that I don't think it appropriate for BB to be anywhere near female soccer out of an abundance of caution, I reject the Spanish Inquisition approach of some other TTP'ers as premature and a quite likely overreach...
You did read the statement from the U20 women from 2008? Massaging players thighs, lewd comments about their bodies in white shirts, cornering players in closed door hotel rooms, sexual text messages... what else are you looking for?

I would say the BCPSL and BC Soccer could be in some hot water potentially in regards to B.B. Your admitted connection there is the only reason that makes sense with so many concrete examples given by the U20 players why you would continue to be trying to throw these brave ladies under the bus.

I’m guessing you don’t have daughters, because if he was allowed back on the field after 2008 with those allegations and ended up anywhere near my daughter’s team I would be tracking down those administrators and board members for a word myself. Disgraceful. All of it.
 

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To be fair, @mtkb was saying was that he remembered details of the hiring clearly but because this may yet end up in court is not stating anything here....which is prudent given I think he was on the board for the boys side at the time. That’s got nothing to do with protecting BB or throwing the girls under the bus.
 
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Spankmemanky

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You had a basis?? You are uninformed

I’m ok with you not talkin to me, one less dill hole to rub my rhubarb
 

Spankmemanky

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If this issue was discussed at BCPSL and nobody did a thing... it’s even more convincing how corrupt and collusive groupthink is ....

Did anyone have the guts to say WTF???

Has anyone read the CSA/BCSA or Coaching Association of Canada codes of conduct? Cause it pretty well spells it out!!

Instead they all drank the kool aid and let him loose ....

Every single person who allowed that to happen should be charged for conduct unbecoming a member and bringing the game into disrepute

Do you have any idea how much this is going to cost BCSA/CSA members??

It’s coming out of grassroots monies... sickening to think that CSA/BCSA will he defended by public funds should it go to court.
 

mtkb

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You did read the statement from the U20 women from 2008? Massaging players thighs, lewd comments about their bodies in white shirts, cornering players in closed door hotel rooms, sexual text messages... what else are you looking for?

I would say the BCPSL and BC Soccer could be in some hot water potentially in regards to B.B. Your admitted connection there is the only reason that makes sense with so many concrete examples given by the U20 players why you would continue to be trying to throw these brave ladies under the bus.

I’m guessing you don’t have daughters, because if he was allowed back on the field after 2008 with those allegations and ended up anywhere near my daughter’s team I would be tracking down those administrators and board members for a word myself. Disgraceful. All of it.
We had an incident on the girls side while I was still chair at Mountain. It was far less serious than the BB situation, but it still involved an awkward issue involving adult/children interaction. Our board had a spirited discussion about it, and there were strongly diverging opinions. I led the "bring the hammer down" charge. And no, I don't have any kids, or sisters.

As far as the BCSPL goes, you might do a little research into whether or not BB went directly from the Whitecaps to the BCSPL, or whether there was an intermediary stop back elsewhere in youth soccer as first. You might further ask yourself - hypothetically of course - if Coastal might just have asked the Whitecaps about the BB canning and not been told anything that gave them cause for concern. And finally, you might also infer that, had the BCSPL board been dealing with the same or rather less information, that there was nothing for them to do and your arrow is severely misaligned.

So, enough of the bullshit suggestions of improper motives on my part. I have a take. I get that many will not agree with it. Frankly, I'm used to it. Debate me on the merits, like Dude and others are doing, but don't come at me suggesting I have something to hide simply because you think I'm wrong. That dog don't hunt.

What more do I need? Concrete examples of clearly inappropriate and / or criminal behaviour at concrete times perpetrated against concrete, identified individuals.

There is a vagueness to the "details" provided in many of the allegations. That gives me pause. The anonymous nature of the allegations also gives me pause. The double and triple level hearsay involved in Ciara being the almighty vessel of the allegations also gives me pause. And finally, the lack of any meaningful, specific corroboration (i.e. something more than "yeah, I was there and BB was a creep") gives me further pause.

"Pause" doesn't mean I disbelieve them. It also doesn't mean I believe BB to be a swell guy or a good fit to continue coaching girls or women. What "pause" means is that I'm not going to accept bald assertions on their face; rather, I'm going to carefully consider the evidence and make my own, personal assessment.

I will not apologize for my current assessment of the BB allegations.
 
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Spankmemanky

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Fair comments and opinion...

But the facts are clear, the WC/CSA/BCSA/BCSPL did not due their due diligence in investigating the issues.

CSA is quite clear that condoning and not reporting an egregious act makes you as guilty as the person committing it

When it all comes out... not a single person will be held to account though....

It’ll all be laid at the feet of those anonymous “volunteers”
 

Spankmemanky

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Here’s just a few reasons why this is a bit concerning considering it involves the CSA/BCSA/WC .... and now CFC and BCSPL.... there’s a whole lotta culpability here and zero accountability.

 

akslop

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This is a very complicated matter, and all I have done is provide my two cents and basis for them. I'm not going to be attacked personally because you happen to have a different take.

You and I are done communicating.
You're Starting to sound like Marchand
 

Dude

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Fair comments and opinion...

But the facts are clear, the WC/CSA/BCSA/BCSPL did not due their due diligence in investigating the issues.

CSA is quite clear that condoning and not reporting an egregious act makes you as guilty as the person committing it

When it all comes out... not a single person will be held to account though....

It’ll all be laid at the feet of those anonymous “volunteers”
I'm not sure that at this level- professionally or Nationally- anyone is a volunteer, FWIW.

This: "As far as the BCSPL goes, you might do a little research into whether or not BB went directly from the Whitecaps to the BCSPL, or whether there was an intermediary stop back elsewhere in youth soccer as first. You might further ask yourself - hypothetically of course - if Coastal might just have asked the Whitecaps about the BB canning and not been told anything that gave them cause for concern. And finally, you might also infer that, had the BCSPL board been dealing with the same or rather less information, that there was nothing for them to do and your arrow is severely misaligned."

Being on any BOD as a volunteer pure sucks, especially when things get legal. Most people get on boards because volunteerism needs leadership, and there are precious few people willing to put in their time being leaders. Some- but in my experience the overwhelming minority- get into it for selfish reasons. Most are altruistic. My experience was horrific enough on all fronts that I will never again volunteer on a BOD, or for many things kids sports related. Coaching footy being the only exclusion, and that too has lost it's shine in a lot of ways. I know soccer clubs nowadays are essentially medium sized businesses, and run as such...but still for the most part we are dealing with folks that work all day then come to the club in the evening to take your shite. I can almost give them a pass, to be fair. The firing was dressed up as a mutual parting of ways. Once it gets to the hiring level, BB could have almost said anything for the reason of his departure, because on the other side he was protected by confidentiality and common law in favor of employees. "Why was there a mutual parting of ways, Bob?" "Well, I found myself overly stressed with the pressure, and concerned about my health, and it was affecting my work in a negative way...but I'm much better now, and this isn't nearly the stress. " "Well, OK then!"

Even when we terminate employees for poor performance, or worse, you can't really say anything negative on reference calls, because libel will come back to bite you in the ass.

Sorry @mtkb , your part of the holy trinity winning the day again on that front, don't fcuking get me started.

Point being, this really should have been nipped at the CSA and BCSA levels. If the Caps were serious, they could have helped to facilitate this. So for me, the Caps still hold a huge amount of the responsibility here in allowing this guy to coach again, and the CSA is right behind them. I don't think the BCSA had any jurisdiction here, so they may have been as much in the dark as Coastal. I'm open to being corrected....
 

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Vic would not allow himself to be interviewed during the LAFC match, and during halftime show the TSN guys totally maneuvered around the issue, not a mention, nadda. He's running from this just as fast as WCFC.
 

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Although I see this as an honest answer, I also see it as passing the buck down to BCSA. However, if BCSA was not brought into the conversation, how would they know? Wouldn't the onus of responsibility fall to WCFC and CSA do do so? Also, do we know specifically BCSA was NOT brought into the fold? If they are the only ones that can revoke his coaching licence, then you'd think the other two orgs would bring BCSA into the loop, no? I'm asking honestly and not rhetorically, because I actually don't know the answer here...

"Asked how Birarda was able to continue coaching girls at a Vancouver club just months after being released from his role with the national body and Whitecaps following allegations of abuse, Montagliani said national organizations do not deal with coach registrations and responsibility lies with regional governing bodies or local clubs.

“I have no answer to that because I don’t know what the process is in terms of hiring or a background check,” said Montagliani, who is also a Fifa vice-president. “That is a question better posed to the local football organization. It has been a while since I was at the national federation but national federations don’t deal with registrations. There are thousands of youth coaches across the country. Processes or safeguards: that stuff has to be dealt with at grassroots and domestic level. These are important risk management issues that have to be dealt with at a local level.”
 

Spankmemanky

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Canadian press can’t get anywhere near this guy.... for a big dude he’s a politicking ninja

This is the crux of the issue..... who knew what, when??

Cowards the lot, for not addressing it ethically & pointing the fingers at everyone else
 

robino

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OK, mtkb says to show him facts. Some facts cannot be shown (like kissing on a chick for example) but if more than one victim comes forward and the narrative is the same, then we DO have to take that into value. Someone from above said that BB was involved in...

Massaging players thighs, lewd comments about their bodies in white shirts, cornering players in closed door hotel rooms, sexual text messages... More than ONE player agreed with these actions that this coach took.

I am sorry but the BCSA and the board of individual clubs failed to fully protect players. They need to fully do their homework, and research before letting creeps be around young kids. Who ever was in hiring process, and said OK lets hire him, and then found out these things from number of players, and the stories that this coach did, should step up and say , YES WE f&cked up. WE DIDNT DO GOOD ENOUGH JOB!!!! Accountability is a key. If BL had balls he should step down by now. In Europe with their fans (Hooligans) he wouldnt last one day.
BCSA and local clubs that hired this guy should be sued by families of these kids, as the impact of such behaviour can be severe and long lasting well into their adulthood.
 

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I know one thing: next time I'm asked by any club to have a criminal record check done, I'm doing it quickly and not making them chase me around. Think of Surrey United: how many teams, and up to 3 coaches / managers per squad that need the check! It's a massive effort, and frankly, I'm guilty of saying "This is bullshit". No more, it's not bullshit, and we all need to be on board.

Also, I have never gotten a license. Mainly, I wasn't going to take a course I could teach just to give some body I don't care about the ability to call me a "licensed coach". All I was seeing around me were licensed coaches that will never learn as much as I've forgotten about in this game. That's my ego talking, and the next time around, I will most certainly make sure I have the license as well as the checks, because I believe the solutions going forward are all part and parcel of each other. The CSA and or BSCA need the ability to revoke a license even if whatever the infraction was would not register as criminal. Thus, the clubs MUST adhere to a strict policy that every coach has a license from BCSA, and has also gone through a CRC.
 
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Why has no one mentioned that South Delta United hired him first before coastal. From what I hear the TD did not want to hire him but was forced by the board to hire him. So really Coastal was the second youth club to hire him.
And lets not forget Hubert Busby who was the coach that had a player fly across the country to share a hotel room with him. And he is currently an assistant coach on a female university team down south.
I am not defending BB but there are other parties that need to be called out in this mess.
 
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Spankmemanky

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South delta is Just another set of blind eyes... if the VP of the CSA national teams didn’t take the time to read the Ombudspersons report, then it can be assumed that everyone else down the food chain cared as much.

Who’s job was it to ensure that BCSA was notified of the circumstances of the coaches termination?

The bigger picture issue is policies that were in place, were not acted upon by anyone.... from the CSA on down....everyone’s protected by blaming everyone else... it’s a three stooges act, with zero consequences for this misconduct.

The chain of command and communication is dysfunctional and disjointed... and sooooo far from the tenets of natural justice and the gold standard of best HR practice you need three flights, a bus, rickshaw, and a yak to get there.

we have “reputable” personnel that made extremely poor choices in crises management....& continue to do so with the help of others

We have no third party impartial sport authority to intervene in matters of significance.... so friends lookin after friends continues to be the unspoken mantra... Its just how FIFA rolls

And now we have to pay $100,000 for a BCSA report that is going to absolve everyone by saying, we didn’t know... but we’ll keep our ears open and do better next time

We need laws to go after the unethical... instead of giving them pedestals to poison the pitch
 

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I'll add some thoughts if anyone is interested in doing some research.

From all the info I have been able to find on this, as far as I have gathered the timeline was essentially that BB "left" the Whitecaps/CSA with no immediate plans to go elsewhere. A father in Tswwassen/South Delta had his daughter's Metro team and a boatload of money so he paid BB to come in and coach that team. When HPL began, that team moved as is to Coastal with one of the caveats being that the management and coaching control structure remained in tact. Surely with the contacts they had at WFC, the Coastal hierarchy were aware at least of the reasons why BB was no longer there, however, as time had passed with no further fallout or incidents PLUS the fact that given the non-disclosure agreement prevented anyone from the Whitecaps from going on the record even if they wanted to (though I doubt they did...) it is a tough spot for Coastal.

Could and should they have taken a moral stand and found/created some other reason not to take on BB and this team? That's up for debate. Officially, though, they would have had no valid reasons not to take on BB. His record coaching over the next decade at Coastal speaks for itself. Several former players (including Ciara et al) rave about his coaching. He took that original Tsawwassen based team all the way through to U18 and then started again with his own daughters team at U13 and took them all the way through to winning a U17 National Championship this past October plus multiple Provincial titles with both teams along the way. Then it hit the fan.

It does not appear that their have been any further accusations of inappropriate conduct beyond that Whitecaps/CSA squad. That being said, the bill comes due. Things were handled differently in 2006/07/08; again see pop-culture everywhere with the #MeToo movement, see other horrific sports stories (US Gymnastics, Theo Fleury, etc. etc.) The play was always to make it go away quietly. That has to stop, period. However, that is a systemic issue and should be separated from the specific allegations against BB.

There is plenty of room to criticize how the Whitecaps handled investigating the allegations then and even more to criticize how they are handling the fallout now. If they came out and said "We handled it a certain way, in keeping with how similar incidents would have been handled at the time, but now we realize that this fell well short of the duty we owed as an organization and for that we apologize. We cannot go back, but we can go forward and we want to help make this better, etc. etc...." I think they would have got more traction. Instead, all this covering their ass and finger pointing elsewhere has contributed to an erosion of trust that has been growing for some time now with this organization. At this point, with everything that has happened, it sounds like the public wants blood and will not rest until they get it. Someone will likely need to hang...

That is one half of this conversation. The other is what happened with BB specifically. So far there have been no allegations that would rise to the level of criminal prosecution. BB was allegedly inappropriate with his remarks, there was some alleged inappropriate touching, alleged abuse of power. Maybe @mtkb can help me out here. As far as I can find creepy/lewd/inappropriate comments are not a crime in and of themselves. They go against most workplace policies, etc. and can and should cost people their jobs, but they are not indictable. Inappropriate touching and abuse of power, especially when combined, are a crime.

See s. 153 of the Criminal Code:

The problem here is that the only account reaching this standard would be him allegedly touching the girls thigh. The problem is proving that this occurred, as the code states, "for a sexual purpose." That may seem straight forward enough (ie what other purpose could it have been for?) but that will need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law and that is likely not as straight forward.

As for consequences, BB has had his reputation destroyed and will, in all likelihood, never coach again. Perhaps this should have occurred 10 years ago, but, as I said, the bill comes due.

For me personally, that is an appropriate consequence. Based on all the smoke, there is a fire of some sort here, but I, personally, do not see a crime as defined by our current laws (if you want those changed advocate to your MP). Based on his alleged actions, the guy is not somebody who should be working in sport and, even if delayed by some time, that has now happened.

As for the bigger picture, the Whitecaps have to address their systemic issues and that will continue to play out. Sport in Canada in general needs to take steps to ensure these types of situations never occur again, and I believe that is starting to happen. There is still a long road to go, but I think we are starting to take steps.

Finally, I dug this article up interviewing players after BB's dismissal ahead of the WC he was supposed to be coaching at. I found it a very interesting read. The author notes that there was no reason given for BB's dismissal and just lets that hang. Would be interesting to know whether the media pushed for any answers at the time. Also the two players interviewed are somewhat elusive in their responses about BB as is Ian Bridge. You can read into it any number of things from:
  • they knew what occurred and they were coached on appropriate sound bites
  • they knew what occurred and wanted to say more but did not feel safe doing so
  • they knew what occurred and did not believe it was a big deal/they wanted BB to stay
  • they knew something occurred but not exactly what
  • they did not know anything about what occurred
Have a read if you like:
 
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