Interim president Charmaine Crooks faces one challenger in Canada Soccer election

·3 min read

Interim president Charmaine Crooks will face former Canada Soccer vice-president Rob Newman for the top elected job at the governing body's annual meeting this week in Saint John, N.B.

Crooks, a Canada Soccer vice-president, was elevated to president after Nick Bontis, acknowledging change was needed to achieve labour peace with the Canadian men's and women's national teams, resigned in late February.

Canada Soccer's annual meeting of the members runs Thursday through Sunday with elections scheduled for Saturday.

The role of president is the top elected position with Canada Soccer.

Earl Cochrane announced last month he was stepping down as general secretary, the top staff position in the organization. Former Canada captain Jason deVos, a Canada Soccer Hall of Famer who is currently Canada Soccer's director of development, has been named interim general secretary.

Crooks was summoned to appear Thursday on Parliament Hill before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage but because of the clash with Canada Soccer's annual meeting will now testify before the parliamentary committee on May 11, according to a source not authorized to speak publicly on the matter because the committee date has yet to be formally announced.

Bontis, Cochrane, Canada Soccer chief financial officer Sean Heffernan, board member Paul-Claude Berube and former president Steven Reed have already testified before the parliamentary committee, as have Canada captain Christine Sinclair and fellow national team players Sophie Schmidt, Janine Beckie and Quinn, who goes by one name.

Crooks, a five-time Olympian who earned silver in the 4x400 track relay at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, has been on the Canada Soccer board since 2012-13 and served as vice-president since January 2021.

Newman served on Canada Soccer’s board for 10 years (2002-03 to 2011-12), including four years as vice-president (2008-09 to 2011-12). A former president of Saskatchewan Soccer, he is currently president and CEO of B.C. Sport.

With Crooks elevated to interim president, the Canada Soccer board named Kelly Brown as acting vice-president. Brown was elected a Canada Soccer independent director in 2020.

Murray is not running to remain vice-president but will retain her position on the board. The candidates for VP are Berube and Dale Briggs, with Charlie Cuzzetto having dropped out of the running.

Berube has been on the Canada Soccer board since 2015-16. Briggs has served as the representative for Atlantic Canada on the board since 2019-20.

Cuzzetto, a former B.C. Soccer director (2004-12) and president (2009-12), has been on the Canada Soccer board since 2009-10.

There are 85 votes up for grabs among the members at the annual meeting, divided primarily by geography — with 10 each for Ontario and Quebec, eight each for Alberta and British Columbia, four each for Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan, three each for Manitoba and Nova Scotia, and two each for Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon.

The other 25 votes come from the players (two votes, one from each national team), Canada's leagues and professional clubs (21), referees (one) and coaches (one).

Canada Soccer's board usually numbers 14 — the president plus 13 — but is currently at 13 with Bontis gone.

Director elections come up at different times with three to be voted on this week.

Don Story, the incumbent for Manitoba/Saskatchewan/Nunavut, is running unopposed. Bob Richardson (Ontario) and Karen MacNeill (Alberta) are not seeking re-election.

The Ontario candidates are Charles Blanco, Panos Kelamis, Paul Martin, Paul Rivett and Dino Rossi. The candidates for Alberta are Ben Drummond, Orest Konowalchuk, Andy McCreath, Phil Michailides, Bernie Morton, Jeremy Newton and Kathryn Truscott.


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This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 2, 2023.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press