According to a AFP report, commissioner has resigned and U.S. Women’s Soccer League called off matches over abuse allegations.
Lisa Baird, who was under fire for her handling of sexual misconduct allegations against a head coach, resigned Friday night as commissioner of the top US professional women’s soccer league.
Baird’s decision was announced in a statement posted on the National Women’s Soccer League’s Twitter account and comes just hours after she said the NWSL was calling off this weekend’s matches around the United States.
The decision to remove Baird was made by the league’s board of directors, American sports broadcaster ESPN reported. No replacement has been announced.
“This week, and much of this season, has been incredibly traumatic for our players and staff, and I take full responsibility for the role I have played,” Baird said earlier Friday before she resigned.
Baird was named NWSL commissioner in February 2020, succeeding Amanda Duffy.
Riley was the second NWSL coach to be dismissed this week after the league terminated Washington Spirit coach Richie Burke’s contract following an investigation into allegations of verbal and emotional abuse.
“Bottom line: Protect your players. Do the right thing NWSL,” Morgan tweeted.
– ‘A pattern’ –
Farrelly, who played for Riley at three different teams in different leagues, accused him of “sexual coercion” while he was her coach at the Philadelphia Independence.
In another incident during his reign at the Portland Thorns, Farrelly and Shim said Riley had forced them to kiss each other while at his apartment.
Morgan, who played under Riley at the same time, confirmed the players’ allegations and said she had tried to help them file a report with the league.
In a statement to The Athletic, Riley denied wrongdoing, describing the allegations as “completely untrue.”
The league’s players’ union NWSLPA said on Twitter that “systemic abuse” was “plaguing the NWSL.”
On Thursday Baird said the league was implementing a new anonymous reporting process for players, and team and league staff.
“FIFA is deeply concerned by the recent reports in the US made by several players. Due to the severity and seriousness of the allegations being made by players, we can confirm that FIFA’s judicial bodies are actively looking into the matter,” the world soccer body said.
US Soccer, which helped found the NWSL in 2013, said it was launching its own investigation. (AFP)