AP NEWS

Some Whitecaps fan walk out in solidarity against ex-coach

April 18, 2019
Vancouver Whitecaps FC fans, better known as the Southsiders, walk out of the MLS soccer match between Vancouver and Los Angles FC in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Hundreds of Vancouver Whitecaps fans walked out during a game to protest the handling of decade-old abuse and harassment allegations against a former coach.

Two fan groups organized the action during the game with Los Angeles FC on Wednesday night over what they say is the “silence and lack of accountability” by team executives.

More than a dozen women who played for the Whitecaps and Canada’s Under-20 talent pool in 2007-08 recently issued a statement saying Bob Birarda acted inappropriately.

Both teams parted ways with Birarda in 2008. Birarda coached youth soccer at Coastal FC until his recent suspension.

Several ex-players said they came forward because they were unaware he was still coaching girls and wanted stricter policies to protect athletes. Birarda didn’t respond to a recent request for comment.

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