Former Olympic athlete Charmaine Crooks was named president of Canada’s soccer team on Wednesday, becoming the first woman and person of color to hold the position.
Crooks is the first Canadian to compete in five Olympic Games and hold the position of vice president of Canadian Soccer for the last two years.
His interim appointment as head of the organization comes amid a dispute over gender equality with the Canadian women’s team that led to the sudden resignation of former president Nick Bontis early on. this week.
“The work ahead for our institutions, our sport, and for the athletes who wear our Canadian jersey, is as important to me as any race I’ve competed in,” he said. Crooks said in a statement.
“I know and understand the calls to get this right, and I am confident that we will be able to deliver real progress for our ‘National Teams’ It will always come down to the bottom,” he said.
In February, Canadian soccer faced a crisis when the country’s women’s team threatened to quit. in the SheBelieves Cup tournament in America.
Canada’s women – the reigning Olympic champions – vowed to protest over pay, funding and contract issues while demanding equal conditions with the U.S. team. men.
The women eventually called off the threat of a strike after being informed that participating in the friendly tournament would be illegal and could result in legal action.
Crooks, a silver medalist in the 4x400m relay at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, is a former member of the International Olympic Committee who previously served on the Athletes’ Commission.
She is one of a growing number of women heading soccer federations along with Cindy Parlow, the first female president of US Soccer; Debbie Hewitt, chairman of the Football Association of England; and Lise Klaveness, president of the Norwegian federation.