Canadian Game System – “Like a Mafia”

Canadian Game System - "Like a Mafia"

Bob Pilot Kelly Humphries was born in Canada but won a gold medal for the USA in Beijing. (Photo Alliance / Andy Kropa / InVision / AP)

A few years ago, Amelia Fox saw firsthand how senior Canadian sports officials treated young women.

That was sexual harassment. He kissed me without my consent. He told me that he wanted to sleep with me. It was meant seriously. And I was not alone.

In the fall of 2015, Marcel Obt was made similar allegations not only by him, but also by an employee of the Canadian Olympic Foundation. Eventually, the headlines of the time meant that he had to step down as president of the National Olympic Committee.

Amelia Fox is a Montreal sports law attorney and president of the Canadian Sport Law and Governance Association, a professional organization that has long supported the interests of athletes. But he has yet to find a remedy for the abusive behavior.

gymnastics association

An open letter in which over 70 active and former gymnasts complained about the situation a few days ago shows how unpleasant the situation is. Among them is Rosie Koser, a one-time member of the national rhythmic gymnastics team. She explained on Canadian TV how normal the pressure is:

“I saw teammates falling during practice. I was afraid they were badly injured. As it turned out, they were completely exhausted. We asked our federation to resolve these issues. Contacted. To no avail.”

The status of the Luge Sports Association was so extreme that the most successful Canadian bobsledder, Kelly Humphries, looked no other way: having married an American, she quickly accepted his citizenship and thus was able to compete for the USA in Beijing. been enabled. , He won gold in Monobob.

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No independent investigation into Humphreys and others

Canada lagged behind. But don’t understand. Humphries described fears for her physical safety if she, the 2018 double Olympic champion, clashed with then-coach Todd Hays, being dismissed outright by the authorities. There is no independent investigation either.

At first glance, isolated individual matters become part of an authoritarian management culture that gives no importance to responsible and equal athletes. The development can be seen all over the world. But in Canada it is also so harsh as it manifests itself in various sports. Involved not only in gymnastics and tobogganing, but also in rugby, rowing and women’s football.

The constellation is always the same: the fate of those affected is not taken seriously by the authorities. As with the sexual abuse of a coach, which was reported by former professional soccer player Ciara McCormack on Deutschlandfunk in 2019:

A player was asked behind a closed door in a hotel room what she would do to get into the starting line-up. Another member of the team received text messages from the coach with inappropriate sexual references.

State money without transparency

Eventually, Koch is charged by law enforcement. Which doesn’t reassure insiders like Amelia Fox. He experienced power structures for the first time a few years ago as a board member of the Canadian Football Association:

“The public sector actively supports top-class sports. We have a program called ‘On the Podium’ that gives federations a lot of money. If you get tax money you have to act transparently. But as a board member, I didn’t have access to FIFA contracts or anything important like that. It’s like the mafia. The presidents of the associations manage everything and keep all the information with themselves. So the board members properly can’t work.”

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Conflicts of interest are programmed this way. Faux says Canadian laws are actually good enough to address complaints. Politicians could also do something and put pressure on the officials. But it doesn’t happen. This is why athletes are currently considering action to wake up the Canadian public. They probably don’t have a choice.

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