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Whitecaps fan group plans second in-stadium protest this weekend

Rob Williams Apr 26, 2019 11:21 am

The Vancouver Whitecaps’ largest supporters group is planning another in-stadium protest during Saturday’s match against the Philadelphia Union.

For the second consecutive home game, the Southsiders will stage an in-game ‘walk-out,’ beginning in the 35th minute.

The fan group is continuing its protest of how the club is choosing to handle allegations of inappropriate and abusive behaviour, which allegedly took place more than a decade ago. The allegations were first made public by Ciara McCormack in a February 25 blog post earlier this year.

Andrea Neil, a former longtime Canadian national team player and member of the Whitecaps Ring of Honour, backed McCormack’s allegations in a statement posted to her website on March 26. Then, on April 1, 13 former players released a joint statement outlining specific damning allegations concerning a former coach.

After the Southsiders announced plans for a walk-out protest earlier this month, the Whitecaps released a lengthy statement that didn’t seem to satisfy anyone, including McCormack.

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“In talking with the women that came forward, we all feel that nothing is materially different than the last home game,” said Vancouver Southsiders vice president Paul Sabourin-Hertzog in an email to Daily Hive.

“The Whitecaps have yet to have an executive really step forward and be accountable on the subject, answer questions from media directly, or commit to any meaningful actions. A review of policies that we as supporters are not even allowed to read is not enough of a commitment to change organizational behaviour.

“We hope fans and supporters around the stadium will join in another walkout during the 35th minute and watch the remainder of the first half from the concourse.”

The Southsiders, along with Curva Collective supporters and other fans around the stadium, walked out on the final 10 minutes of the first half on April 17. They watched the remainder of the half on concourse television screens, continuing to sing and cheer for the current players and coaches that they still support.

“We want to show our displeasure to the executives, but are trying to strike a balance that doesn’t withdraw support fully from the team and coaches on the pitch,” says Sabourin-Hertzog.

A Whitecaps spokesperson said that the club has reached out to the Southsiders and have arranged a meeting with members of the supporters group on Saturday morning with co-owner Jeff Mallett.

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