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Vancouver Whitecaps: Supporter groups plan second walkout

Oct 28, 2018; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Whitecaps fans celebrate Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Alphonso Davies (67) during the 67th minute of play against the Portland Timbers during the second half at BC Place. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Last week against LAFC the Vancouver Whitecaps supporter groups, Southsiders and Curva Collective, walked out in the 35th minute. The walkout was a sign of support for members of the 2008 women’s Whitecaps and U-20 national team, who have levelled serious allegations of abuse toward a former coach. 

On Saturday the Whitecaps are facing the Philadelphia Union in what will be an important game for the club. The Whitecaps are 1-2-5 to open the season. While the slow start has been somewhat acceptable for fan groups — given the club’s voluntary rebuild. The club’s conduct in handling the allegations has caused some serious concern among Whitecaps’ supporters. 

Hence, the two largest fan organizations, the Southsiders and Curva Collective, announced their intention of another walkout to take place in Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Union. 

“The Whitecaps have not materially addressed any of the ongoing concerns of Ciara McCormack and the former U20 Canadian National Women’s Team player pool members,” a statement on the Southsiders’ official homepage read on Friday.

“In fact, things have worsened for the Whitecaps, as it has come to light that they employed someone as a youth coach that was previously turfed from his position at Notts County due to racist actions,” the statement added. 

This week it emerged that in 2013 the Whitecaps organization had hired a former Notts County youth coach Brett Adams even though there was an ongoing investigation by the English Football Association for racist actions. Adams, the head of the Whitecaps Academy in the Kootenay region, was fined and suspended by the English FA after allegedly throwing a banana at a black player of his club’s youth team that had the words “f… off” written on it and then told him to “f… off and eat it.” 

Vancouver’s largest fan group, the Southsiders, therefore, feel that they have to continue the pressure for the club to address these ongoing issues thoroughly. “The protest action taken at the last home game has had the desired effect of getting this very important issue fully out into the public eye,” the statement pointed out.

It now appears that the fan pressure is paying off. As a result, of the fan protests Whitecaps’ co-owner Jeff Mallett has now agreed to meet the Southsiders ahead of Saturday’s game against Philadelphia. Whether it will defuse a second walkout remains to be seen, however.

After all, the Southsiders and Curva Collective feel that the walkouts have led to further public pressure for the club to show some accountability. “Perhaps as a result of the increased media attention on this matter, Whitecaps executives and owners have reached out to supporters groups. We are arranging to meet in person with them in the coming days.”

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