(Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Canada Soccer has initiated an investigation into the removal of former women’s U-20 national team coach Bob Birarda.

In a statement released Friday night, Canada Soccer announced, “In collaboration with the Canadian Women’s National Team Players Association, Canada Soccer has initiated a transparent, third-party independent investigation of the process that occurred in 2008 that led to the removal of former Women’s U-20 National Team Coach, Bob Birarda.”

Birarda, the former Vancouver Whitecaps coach, was charged with nine sex-related offenses in British Columbia in 2020. In their October petition to Canada Soccer, the Canadian women’s national explicitly named Birarda, demanding better player protections and safety protocols.

Canada Soccer has hired Professor Richard McLaren of the firm McLaren Global Sport Solutions to guide the third-party investigation, stating, “We acknowledge that there is more work to do to protect all participants of our sport and welcome the review by McLaren Global Sport Solutions to guide our future efforts.”