‘Worse Than Hockey Canada’: Steve Reed Testimony Shocks Heritage Committee
On Thursday afternoon, Steve Reed – the man who signed the notorious CSB deal – testified in front of the Heritage Committee in Ottawa. It did not go well.
For one hour the committee heard shocking testimony that confirmed what many already knew: Canada Soccer was in a very bad place for many, many years.
In regards to the controversial CSB deal where Canada Soccer is currently being paid three million dollars a year for broadcasting rights and corporate sponsorships, Reed echoed Earl Cochrane’s earlier sentiment that it was a good deal at the time.
“Back in the day when no media was covering both the men’s and women’s teams, we paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to have our teams covered,” explained Reed.
In regards to the CSB deal, Reed confirmed that the deal was looked over by legal counsel and the executive board, stating that he only signed it after it was approved.
The CSB deal also helped created the Canadian Premier League, a professional l domestic league that is a requirement from FIFA to host a World Cup – something Canada will do in 2026.
The Committee seemed stuck on the Bob Birarda case and how someone who was charged with sexual assault could remain as a coach within the organization. Conservative MP Rachel Thomas questioned Reed on that.
“His situation was dealt with by the executive board at Canada Soccer and I was only informed after the fact after he was terminated from his position,” responded Reed.
A shocking moment in the meeting came when Liberal MP Anthony Housefather asked if Reed was aware about Birarda coaching in BC when Reed was President. He said he wasn’t, prompting gasps from around the room.
At that moment Conservative MP Kevin Waugh said he had heard enough and demanded the clerk swear him in under oath. At that point, Reed was sworn in.
Once again Reed defended the CSB deal, saying again it was a good deal, especially during a time of uncertainty with Canada Soccer.
NDP MP leader Peter Julian was not happy at all with what he heard saying he was surprised by the testimony he had heard.
“I feel Canada Soccer is worse than Hockey Canada,” Julian surmised, having asked about the mechanisms in place to make sure this type of stuff doesn’t happen again.
“We didn’t have the mechanisms in place to follow every single coach provincially or nationally,” Reed had responded.
Reed did confirm that changes are now in place, as many MPs were wondering how a coach can go commit a crime and not have a red flag next to his or her name when applying for a coaching job.
He also confirmed that now every coach who applies to the program goes through a rigorous criminal background check and needs to sign a code of ethics before they are hired.
The meeting ended with Housefather saying it was horrible that Reed wasn’t aware of what was going on during his tenure as the Canada Soccer president, BC Soccer president, and a board member.
Head Image Photo Credit: Martin Bazyl / Canada Soccer