Statement from Axel Schuster, Whitecaps FC CEO and sporting director:

First and foremost, our thoughts are with the brave women who have come forward and the victims affected.

At this time, our primary focus is to respect and protect the interests of these individuals and the integrity of the court process. Their pain and suffering is real and something we care deeply about. 

Bob Birarda was the head coach of the club’s women’s team from 2006 to 2008. Today’s developments have reinforced the harm that he brought to women in our program during that time. We should have been better, and for that we are sorry. We maintain our commitment to the Safe Sport process we began last year to fulfill our responsibilities and do everything possible, so this never happens again. We strongly encourage all involved with sport across Canada to do the same.

Please understand, we are not a party to this case apart from co-operating with the investigation, and we do not receive updates directly from the authorities. We don’t have any information regarding these charges beyond what is available to the public.

Axel Schuster
Whitecaps FC CEO and sporting director