She played soccer in many parts of the world. And not just in Vancouver, the city where she was born. Her athletic travels have taken her to the USA, Denmark, Norway and Australia. There were also international matches she played in at her parents’ house in Ireland.
Ciara McCormack used every opportunity to gain in-depth scientific knowledge. So she is one of the few female footballers in the world with a total of three Masters degrees.
However, your name comes up these days in a particular context: when it comes to an abuse scandal that is making waves in Canadian football. This is an updated proof that the officials responsible for protecting the victims often fail. And to expel wrongdoers from publicity.
The persecution began ten years ago
The first part of the story dates back more than ten years, says the 39-year-old, who was a lawyer at the time who was a teenager and had no courage or ability to stand up. Retaliate against their coach.
“I asked a player in a closed hotel room what he would do to get on the starting grid. Another team member received text messages with inappropriate sexual harassment from the coach. Finally he saw someone touching a player’s thigh, which can be interpreted as a sexual approach.
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The coach in question, on the other hand, maintained her influential position for a decade in the women’s soccer department of the important Vancouver WhiteCaps as a control point for promotion to the national team. He has now been suspended. McCormack:
“What’s positive: the topic is widely discussed in public, even among people who have nothing to do with women’s football. Like fans of the Vancouver WhiteCaps men’s team, foreign media reports, and local media.”
It does not seem to end there. On the contrary: WhiteCaps fans left the home game for the second time as part of a protest that took place as part of the games.
New research shows that follow-up is needed
This was the case a few days ago when the results of a study by AthletesCan, Canada’s leading athletes’ organization, found that sexual harassment of athletes was not the only problem in Canada. The number of more than 200 coaches involved in such attacks on more than 600 underage athletes over the past 20 years already indicates the need for action.
The list of complaints is huge: coaches often ignore all possible limitations. For example, when they work under stress, they unnecessarily increase physical challenges and harass and intimidate athletes, denying them alcohol, food, and safe training conditions.
Controversial items for next week’s top officials’ meeting in the capital, Ottawa. It is not difficult to formulate requirements with the incumbents. In an interview with Canadian television a few days ago, Sports Minister Kirsty Duncan said:
“Athletes deserve respect and dignity. They are first and foremost human beings. I want this long-standing problem, this ugly secret, to be solved. Abuse must end. Our athletes are protected.”
Implementation is more difficult. Lorraine Lafrenier, executive director of the Canadian Coaching Association, knows what’s at the heart of the problem:
“There is an imbalance of power in the relationship between coach and athlete. That is something we really need to address.”
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