NWSL executive committee set up in wake of sexual misconduct allegations
Former players came out to accuse two managers of sexual coercion that dates back to 2010, sparking an investigation by NWSL and UEFA.
It has been a difficult week and a half for the National Women’s Soccer League. On Friday it was confirmed that there would be no matches over the weekend following the firing of two head coaches accused of sexual coercion. Rick Burke and Paul Riley were removed in the wake of the allegations and on 1 October NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird decided to resign from her job.
Changes in the NWSL
Former players have accused Riley of historical sexual coercion dating back to 2010 and US Soccer decided to hire US lawyer Sally Yates to investigate the reports. The former District Attorney for NOrthern Georgia will lead the investigation of “abusive behavior and sexual misconduct in the league,” effective immediately, the federation announced on Sunday.
FIFA is also investigating the reports, which the NWSL player’s union has described as “systemic abuse plaguing the league.” Yates served as deputy attorney general in the Obama administration and US Soccer announced that she will have “full autonomy” in the investigation.
The NWSL has also announced the creation of an executive committee “to manage oversight of the league’s front office operations, following the resignation of its commissioner.” This new committee will be managed by Amanda Duffy (Orlando Pride), Angie Long (Kansas City NWSL), and Sophie Sauvage (OL Reign). Also it was announced that “a global search for a permanent commissioner is underway.”
Statement from the NWSL
"On behalf of the entire league, we are heartbroken for what far too many players have had to endure in order to simply play the game they love, and we are so incredibly sorry,” said the three executive committee members. “We understand that we must undertake a significant systemic and cultural transformation to address the issues required to become the type of league that NWSL players and their fans deserve and regain the trust of both. We’re committed to doing just that and recognize that this won’t happen overnight, but only through vigilance over time.”