CSA president Dr. Dominic Maestracci said the changes will help that CSA reach its long term objectives ((Andrey Lukatsky/ AP Photo))

The Canadian Soccer Association approved a series of significant changes to its governance structure Saturday, reducing its board from 20 to 13 directors while stipulating that a minimum of three women serve as members.

The amendments adopted during the special general meeting come a day after national women's team head coach Carolina Morace unexpectedly said she will step down after this summer's World Cup.

While the changes to the existing structure were not made in direct relation to her announcement, issues with the CSA's governance are believed to have played into Morace's decision.

Whether the new system can be used to help retain the popular Morace is unknown. CSA president Dr. Dominic Maestracci said there will be no further comment about the coach until officials have a chance to speak with her in person.

The new framework —which is to take effect at its annual general meeting next year —is aimed at more effectively separating the board's governance responsibilities and the operational duties of management and staff.

The current board is made up from the presidents of each of the 12 provincial/territorial associations, a professional director and a seven-man executive committee.

"(Current board members) are good people, but there is a conflict of loyalty in that they want to be loyal to their own province and to the national team," Maestracci said from Montreal.

The new board will include the CSA's elected president, six directors elected by region, and six appointed directors with one current or former player, one individual involved in professional soccer and a minimum of three women.

By 2015, the CSA will phase out any board members serving on both its board and that of a provincial/territorial association.

The CSA will also have one elected vice-president who will not serve on the board.

Maestracci said the changes will help that CSA reach its long term objectives and would not have been possible without the co-operation of the association's membership.

The new model comes after a renewal process, which included a formal review of various governance and management structures.

The changes modify the framework originally approved at last year's annual general meeting in Winnipeg.