FIFA investigates a sex scandal in American women’s soccer

A game of the American women's soccer league.

A game of the American women’s soccer league.
Brad Mills

The National League of United States Women’s Soccer confirmed this Friday that the judicial organs of the FIFA they already opened one investigation into sex scandal in which a coach has been involved and that generated the suspension of the games scheduled for this weekend. The statements of two former players of sexual coercion against Paul Riley led to his dismissal from his position as coach of the North Carolina Courage team on Thursday.

Although it is a matter related to a FIFA member association, – normally FIFA does not intervene in internal problems in each of the federations – the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL, in English) considers that its intervention will be of great importance. courage in clarifying everything that happened. Both the Football Federation of USA as the NWSL, they will be in charge of providing all the documentation that FIFA requests from each of the parties involved in the scandal.

US Soccer suspended Riley’s coaching license after a journalistic report released on Thursday by the ‘The Athletic’ website in which the former players of the NWSL Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim reported alleged abuse by Riley, born in England.

The alleged harassment of Farrelly began in 2011 when she was a player for the Philadelphia Independence of the now-defunct Women’s Professional Soccer League. Farrelly told the website that the abuse continued when he was with the Portland Thorns. Shim, a former Thorns player, allegedly suffered harassment as well. The Thorns said Thursday the team investigated the claims about Riley and passed them on to the league when he was fired.

FIFA has reiterated in each of the disputes related to the questioned behavior or misconduct of professionals and managers who are within the world of sport of the soccer that will be investigated to its last consequences, without making any kind of concessions.

For her part, former NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird said that the decision to suspend the games this weekend was made by mutual agreement with the players and she hoped that the fans would also give them their support for the decision. “I think it will be good for all of us to reflect on things that have happened within our sport and have the ability to overcome them in a positive way,” said Baird, who came to the position in early 2020. “I admit my responsibility in the matter and regret it. deeply the pain that may have been caused to those affected. ”

For his part, Riley, 58, one of the most awarded coaches in the NWSL, also through the same media, denied all the accusations and considered them “completely false”.

Commissioner and Attorney General are fired

The NWSL board of directors decided this Friday, through a vote, the removal of Commissioner Lisa Baird and Attorney General Lisa Levine, according to several sources close to the agency. It is not yet known who could assume either of the two vacant positions.


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