NWSL: Second report finds 'widespread and ongoing' misconduct | OneFootball

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·15 December 2022

NWSL: Second report finds 'widespread and ongoing' misconduct

Article image:NWSL: Second report finds 'widespread and ongoing' misconduct

A second report commissioned by the National Women’s Super League and its players union has found widespread, ongoing misconduct in the USA’s top flight of women’s football.

The results of this investigation were released on Wednesday and were broadly in line with the results of another independent inquiry back in October, which found “more than half” of all NWSL clubs were guilty of misconduct.

A number of players, including USWNT captain Becky Sauerbrunn, have spoken out against the abuse that has taken place –– with Sauerbrunn revealing that her teammates were “horrified and heartbroken”.

How did the investigation come about?

The Yates report and the joint NWSL/NWSLPA investigation were first initiated following an article in The Athletic in 2021, which detailed allegations of sexual harassment and coercion from former Portland Thorns head coach Paul Riley.

Riley has denied the allegations but was fired by the North Carolina Courage as a result of the claims. He was one of five head coaches in the league who were either fired or resigned in 2021 as a result of similar accusations.

The report also acknowledged other allegations of misconduct, including former Chicago Red Stars manager Rory Dames, who was found to have emotionally and verbally abused players.

What did the latest report say?

Covington & Burling LLP and Weil, Gotshal and Manges LLIP, who made up the investigative team for the latest inquiry, published a report which read:

“The underlying culture of the NWSL created fertile ground for misconduct to go unreported.

“Institutions meant to investigate and address misconduct failed to do so effectively.

“US Soccer, the league, and individual clubs were not clear on which entity held the ultimate responsibility for establishing and enforcing policies and practices relating to misconduct.”

Article image:NWSL: Second report finds 'widespread and ongoing' misconduct

What else has been said?

NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman, said the investigation showed how the league has systematically failed to protect players.

In a statement, she said: “They deserve, at a minimum, a safe and secure environment to participate at the highest level in a sport they love.

“We are committed to making all the necessary changes to create a safe and positive environment for our players, staff and fans.”

Article image:NWSL: Second report finds 'widespread and ongoing' misconduct

Meanwhile, US Soccer released their own statement, detailing how they are dedicated to ensuring the safety of players.

“We are grateful to the NWSL and NWSLPA for their important efforts to understand the factors that led to abuse in women’s professional soccer and to identify meaningful steps to ensure player safety moving forward.

“US Soccer has closely communicated and co-operated with the NWSL and NWSLPA throughout their investigation. We share a common goal of ensuring a safe, healthy environment for players.”

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Article image:NWSL: Second report finds 'widespread and ongoing' misconduct

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