OTTAWA — The federal government is imposing new conditions on funding for Canada Soccer, the sports ministry confirmed to The Canadian Press on Tuesday.
The announcement comes after several parliamentary committee hearings where the organization faced criticism for its handling of a sex abuse scandal, questions about a controversial broadcasting deal as well as the treatment of female soccer players, including women's team captain Christine Sinclair, by former executives.
Canada Soccer responded to the confirmation, first reported by CBC News, saying it has agreed to the new conditions from the federal government.
The government wants to commission an independent audit of Canada Soccer's finances covering the period from March 1, 2017 to March 31, 2023.
The organization must also undergo governance review and accept advice from an external advisory group in order to continue receiving federal funding.
Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge said earlier this month the government was examining the possibility of an audit into Canada Soccer's finances, similar to what it had done with Hockey Canada.
Canada Soccer's previous executives had faced extensive criticism, with New Democrat MP Peter Julian saying the organization was worse at handling allegations of sexual abuse and mismanagement than Hockey Canada.
Interim general secretary, and former Canadian men's national team player, Jason deVos said the organization welcomes the move from the federal government.
"While Canada Soccer has already taken steps to enhance our governance standards, we thank Minister St-Onge for her letter and for her collaborative approach in our efforts to further enhance our financial and operational transparency," he said in a release.
"We look forward to working together and alongside our partners at Sport Canada, the Canadian Olympic Committee and Own The Podium to ensure the recommendations of the audit and the governance review are dealt with responsibly and swiftly."
The audit and governance review will happen at the same time, Canada Soccer said in its release.
Sport Canada, the Canadian Olympic Committee, and Own the Podium are working on the creation of an external advisory group to offer support to address the recommendations of the audit and the governance review as well as operational and financial transparency, including how information is shared with athletes, Canada Soccer added.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 30, 2023.
The Canadian Press