Commissioner resigns, NWSL cancels matches


Los Angeles:

Lisa Baird, who has been embroiled in controversy over allegations of sexual harassment against a head coach, resigned as commissioner of the American Professional Women’s Football League on Friday night.

Baird’s decision was announced in a statement posted on the National Women’s Soccer League’s Twitter account, hours after he said the NWSL was canceling matches around the United States this weekend.

“On Friday, the National Women’s Soccer League received the resignation of Lisa Baird as its commissioner,” the league said.

The decision to remove Baird was made by the league’s board of directors, US sports broadcaster ESPN reported. No replacement has been announced.

Baird’s resignation comes a day after North Carolina Courage fired head coach Paul Riley, calling the team “extremely serious allegations of mismanagement”.

“This week, and most of this season, has been incredibly painful for our players and staff, and I take full responsibility for the role I have played,” Baird resigned early Friday. Said before giving.

“I am very sorry for the pain that so many people are feeling,” he added in a statement. “Recognizing this shock, we have decided not to take the field this weekend to give everyone some space to reflect.”

Baird was named NWSL Commissioner in February 2020, after Amanda Duffy.

The rally was called off after the athletic website described the 58-year-old Englishman’s widespread sexual abuse at various teams and leagues since 2010.

He was the second NWSL coach to be fired this week after the league terminated the contract of Washington spirit coach Richie Burke following an investigation into allegations of verbal and emotional abuse.

American internationals Alex Morgan and Megan Repino were among the players who criticized the league for handling the rally allegations.

“Bottom line: protect your players. Do the right thing for NWSL,” Morgan tweeted.

Repino tweeted, “Men, protectors of men, who are abusing women. I will say again, men, protectors of men, who are abusing women.” “Burn them all. Let them all shake their heads.”

According to The Athletic, athletes Sennad Farrell and Melina “Mana” Sham have accused Riley of misconduct.

Farley, who played for Riley in three different teams in different leagues, accused him of “sexual coercion” while he was his coach at Philadelphia Independence.

She said she was forced to have sex with Riley after going to her hotel room after losing in the Women’s Professional Soccer League final in 2011.

In another incident during their reign in Portland Canton, Farrell and Sham said Riley forced them to kiss each other while they were in their apartment.

“This boy is a role model,” Sham told Athletic.

Morgan, who played at the same time as the rally, confirmed the players’ allegations and said he had tried to help them file a report with the league.

“The league has been informed of the allegations several times and the investigation has been denied several times,” Morgan said. “The league must accept responsibility for the action that fails to protect its players from this abuse.”

In a statement to Athletic, Riley denied the allegations, calling the allegations “completely false.”

“I have never had sex with these players, or developed sex,” he said.

The league’s players’ union, the NWSLPA, said on Twitter that “military abuse” was troubling the NWSL.

“Words cannot adequately capture our anger, pain, sadness and frustration,” the NWSLPA said.

On Thursday, Baird said the league was implementing a new anonymous reporting process for players, and for team and league staff.

FIFA has announced that it has reached out to both NWSL and US Soccer as part of a “preliminary investigation”.

“FIFA is deeply concerned about recent reports from several players in the United States,” the World Football Body said.

“FIFA’s position is clear: anyone found guilty of abuse and misconduct in football will be brought to justice, punished and removed from the game.”

US Soccer, which helped locate the NWSL in 2013, said it was launching its own investigation.

“We take our responsibility seriously to thoroughly investigate the reported abusive behavior and to have a full and clear understanding of the factors that allowed it to happen and the changes that have been made to ensure it.” Let it not happen again. ” The league said.

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