US & Canada

Toronto Mayor Ford 'threatened fellow school coach'

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford participates in a mayoral debate hosted by the Canadian Tamil Congress in Scarborough, Ontario in this file 15 July 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Rob Ford is running for re-election in October despite calls for him to step down

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's time as a youth football coach allegedly included threatening a teacher and making players roll in goose droppings, according to newly released documents.

Mr Ford was fired from the volunteer job at the city's Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School in May 2013.

His brother, Councillor Doug Ford, called the school board's documents "fictitious rumours and allegations".

Mr Ford admitted using crack-cocaine "in a drunken stupor" last year.

However, the mayor has refused to step down and is running for re-election in October. In May he entered rehab for alcohol and drug abuse.

The school board files were released following a records request by Canadian media. Mr Ford himself has yet to comment on the allegations.


More than 300 pages document the school's concerns about Ford staying on as volunteer coach and emails on how best to handle firing him.

It was initially believed Mr Ford was sacked because of comments about the school's students and parents he made on Canadian television in March 2013.

In an interview with Sun News Network, the mayor said the parents did not care about their children, who were involved in gangs and drugs.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption One poll suggests Mr Ford is in second place in a crowded mayoral race

The documents suggest the interview was a breaking point for an already strained relationship between the Toronto mayor and the school.

Among the documents' allegations:

  • Mr Ford turned up drunk to a practice before a championship football game
  • He promised to pay for helmets, then said he had already given enough money, leaving the school with the rest of the bill
  • He encouraged high school players to be a "human shield" at the height of media interest in his cocaine habit
  • He threatened a staff coach and teacher, and later apologised
  • Mr Ford offered cash to cleaning staff to keep the school open an hour longer
  • He swore at players while forcing them to roll in grass with goose droppings

Toronto Catholic District School Board spokesman John Yan told the Associated Press news agency the incidents only came to light after the board began a review of Ford's time at the school following his comments.

"The investigation revealed that what were first thought to be isolated incidents connected to form a pattern," Mr Yan said.

"As with any organisation, an individual is entitled to due process and this always takes time."

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