NWSL announces lifetime bans for four coaches after abuse investigation

The NWSL announced sanctions, including lifetime bans for four coaches, following a joint investigative report into allegations of abuse in the league.

The report, drawn up by the league and the players’ association, detailed widespread misconduct by coaches, as well as the lack of response by clubs to allegations made by affected players.

Prior to the investigation, the allegations included sexual harassment and coercion, and verbal and emotional abuse.

The sanctions, imposed Monday by NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman, varied in severity depending on the crimes of those involved.

The most notable name to be sanctioned with a level 1 sanction – a permanent ban from the NWSL – was two-time Coach of the Year and three-time champion Paul Riley.

Former Sky Blue FC and Racing Louisville head coach Christy Holly, former Chicago Red Stars head coach Rory Dames and former Washington Spirit head coach Richie Burke also received Tier One sanctions.

Former Utah Royals head coach Craig Harrington and former Gotham FC general manager Alyse Lahue were given Level 2 sanctions, resulting in a two-year ban from NWSL employment and training required to regain future employment.

Level three sanctions, requiring training to be eligible for employment, have been imposed on former OL Reign head coach Farid Benstiti, former Houston Dash head coaches James Clarkson and Vera Pauw, as well as those previously announced in October for former Orlando Pride head coach, Amandy Cromwell, Pride assistant coach Sam Greene and Pride goalkeeping coach Aline Reis.

The heaviest club fine of $1.5 million was imposed on the Chicago Red Stars while the league will actively assist franchise owner Arnim Whisler in selling the team. The Portland Thorns were fined $1 million and will also be going through a change of ownership.

Racing Louisville was fined $200,000, North Carolina Courage was fined $100,000, OL Reign was fined $50,000, as was Gotham FC.

In a statement, NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman said: “The League will continue to prioritize the implementation and improvement of policies, programs and systems that put the health and safety of our players first.

“These actions are fundamental to the future of our league, especially as we build a league that strengthens our players’ ability to succeed and prosper on and off the pitch.

“As part of our commitment to accountability and deterrence, the league has determined that further corrective action for certain organizations and individuals identified in the joint investigation report is appropriate and necessary.

“The league and its clubs have taken significant steps to begin this structural reform and to understand and accept the continued commitment to improving league standards, which is essential to building a safe and positive environment for our players, staff, fans and partners.

“The governing board hired me with a very specific mandate to drive this transformation. These changes will require leadership, accountability, funding and a willingness to adopt a new way of doing business.

“Our league and clubs are committed to making these changes and will do so with the continued input of the NWSL Players Association to make the NWSL the league that sets the standard for the future of the sport.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *