MLS announces lawyers to lead review into Whitecaps handling of misconduct claims

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Major League Soccer says it has hired two lawyers to lead an independent review of how the Vancouver Whitecaps handled allegations of misconduct against two former coaches.

The league says it has hired Janice Rubin and Melody Jahanzadeh of Rubin Thomlinson LLP to lead the review into the allegations against Hubert Busby Jr. and Bob Birarda.

It says Rubin is widely regarded as a leading authority in workplace and institutional investigations and assessments and has conducted workplace investigations in the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

The allegations have not been tested in court. Busby could not be reached for comment.

The decision comes after Malloree Enoch, a former Whitecaps women's team player, accused Busby of pressuring her for sex during his time as head coach.

She says she shared her concerns with Whitecaps officials but no action was immediately taken.

Axel Schuster, the chief executive officer of the Whitecaps, says executives affiliated with the incident have been placed on administrative leave as MLS investigates.

He also apologized to Enoch for how the team treated her initial allegations.

The Canadian-raised Busby was appointed head coach of Jamaica's women's team in January 2020 after previously serving as an assistant coach.

Busby previously represented Jamaica at the men's level from 2001 to 2003.

Busby is the second Whitecaps coach to face misconduct allegations, with Birarda, a former Canadian women's under-20 and Whitecaps women's coach, being charged with sexual offences involving four people. He's facing six counts of sexual exploitation, two counts of sexual assault and one count of child luring.

The alleged offences occurred between January 1988 and March 25, 2008. The allegations have not yet been tested in court.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 4, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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