Forge FC Assistant Coach Peter Reynders To Appeal CSA Ruling
83 days after Cavalry FC striker Jordan Brown accused Forge FC assistant coach Peter Reynders of using racially charged language during a post-game altercation between the clubs, the Canada Soccer Association found Reynders guilty of misconduct and handed him a 45 day suspension.
Reynders had remained publicly quiet regarding the incident ever since the accusation, but today the 54-year-old has publicly refuted the accusations:
Out of respect for the process and the great game of soccer that I love, I have reluctantly remained silent since these allegations were made against me. The time has come, however, where I have no choice but to defend myself against these allegations and this ruling by the Canada Soccer Disciplinary Committee.Peter Reynders
Reynders, who had worked with top flight Belgian club KRC Genk for some 26 years before joining the Hamilton-based club, went on to explain his side of the story: during the post-match brawl that enveloped both teams, Reynders says he involved himself in the fray in an attempt to diffuse the situation:
On June 4, there was an unfortunate conclusion to our match that saw emotions running high and tempers flaring. It was certainly an unfortunate conclusion to the match and a regrettable one, but as video of the incident clearly shows, I was attempting to act as a peacemaker to calm the situation, not inflame it. I regret that this incident has resulted in the allegation and brought controversy to both the team and the game itself.Peter Reynders
The post-match brawl certainly led to a lot of confusion, though there were plenty of MEDIAPRO cameras rolling as the situation unfolded, even if the footage never made it to air. One would think at least one of them could provide audio or video footage to either condemn or clear the assistant coach, though it’s not clear exactly what evidence the CSA collected during its investigation. Reynders evidently thinks the video footage ought to clear him.
When Brown made the serious allegations against Reynders, his teammates Nathan Mavila and Elijah Adekugbe both publicly stepped forward to support the striker.
Nonetheless, Reynders denies the serious allegations placed against him, and will be appealing the Canada Soccer Association’s verdict on the matter:
I vehemently deny this allegation and have done so since the second allegation was made against me. I have over 30 years of experience as a soccer coach and have never, nor will ever, use any language that could be perceived as racially insensitive or inappropriate. Numerous current and former players and coaches from all backgrounds have come forward to support me and confirm that I do not use racially insensitive language. I will be exercising my right in appealing this decision of Canada Soccer and doing everything possible to clear my name from this allegation. I will have no further comment at this time.Peter Reynders
Given that the statement came from the official Forge FC twitter account, it appears that club officials both believe Reynders and will keep him employed throughout the appeal process. The assistant coach is currently travelling with the club to Honduras, so it’s not immediately clear if his suspension must be served during the appeal process.
Currently, the suspension would see the assistant coach return ahead of the second-last game of the CPL season, when Forge FC travels to York Lions Stadium to play York9 FC on October 12, 2019 – a match that was rescheduled due to Forge’s strong run in the CONCACAF League. If it takes the CSA another 80-odd days to go through the appeal and the suspension doesn’t start until its conclusion, the suspension wouldn’t take place during the CPL’s inaugural season.
It’s not clear how long this appeal process will last for. Given that it took 83 days for the CSA to investigate the incident and hand out a suspension, it might be quite some time before the appeal process comes to a close.
The Barton Street Battalion had reiterated that the supporters’ group has a zero tolerance policy regarding racism, and posted a tweet that insinuated that they expected Forge FC to act accordingly. The Hamilton-based club evidently wants to back up its assistant coach, however, so it’ll be interesting to see how things unfold in the near future.
The serious allegations are a blight on what has otherwise been a great, positive piece of Canadian sports history: the Canadian Premier League launched with a great level of play on the pitch, giving domestic players of all ethnicities a professional environment to continue their sporting careers in. As a whole, it seems like a very inclusive league, and even took part in Pride Month celebrations.
In a league that prides itself as being ‘By Canadians, For Canadians’, there’s certainly no place for racism, sexism, or homophobia.
It’s unlikely that Forge FC, The Canadian Premier League, or the Canada Soccer Association will provide any significant updates until the appeal process comes to a close. With no set timeline for that, it could be another two months before the incident – and whatever fallout stems from it – finally comes to a conclusion.