Soccer-MLS engages outside counsel to investigate allegations against former coach

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– Major League Soccer (MLS) said it was bringing in outside counsel to investigate how the Vancouver Whitecaps responded to allegations of misconduct regarding former women’s team coach Hubert Busby, Jr.

In a Guardian report this week, American soccer player Malloree Enoch alleged numerous instances of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior by Busby during his time as head coach with the Vancouver Whitecaps women’s team in 2010 and 2011.

Busby, who was named head coach for the Jamaican women’s national team last year, denied Enoch’s allegations to the Guardian. The Jamaica Football Federation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

MLS said it and the club would publicly release the findings of the investigation.

“The investigation will include a review of the club’s internal processes and overall culture at the time,” the league said.

It said it would also review “recommendations on preventative measures to ensure that all players and staff under the Whitecaps organization umbrella work in a safe environment, free of all forms of harassment and fear of retaliation.”

Vancouver Whitecaps CEO Axel Schuster said in a statement on Friday that the team was “greatly disturbed” by details of Enoch’s allegations published this week.

“The club’s leadership was made aware of the allegations against Busby at the end of the 2011 season and promptly secured the services of an independent ombudsperson to oversee an investigation into the matter, which ultimately led to the departure of Busby,” he said.

“We have since learned that the investigation did not reveal certain allegations that were disclosed this week.”

The MLS announcement comes amid a widespread reckoning over abuse across North American professional sport.

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) agreed Friday to partner with the Players Association to investigate any instances of inappropriate conduct in the wake of misconduct allegations against a former coach.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Robert Birsel)