The NWSL bans Paul Riley, Christy Holly, Rory Dames and Richie Burke from the league for life
The National Women’s Soccer League announced a series of fines and penalties resulting from its joint investigation with the NWSL Players Association into abuse and misconduct by club coaches and executives.
Most notably, four former coaches accused of abuse and misconduct have been banned for life and two clubs have been fined millions.
Former coaches Paul Riley, Christy Holly, Rory Dames and Richie Burke have all been permanently banned from the NWSL for their actions.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Red Stars and Portland Thorns both face hefty fines — with Chicago being fined $1.5 million and Portland being fined $1 million.
Former Thorns manager Paul Riley has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by two players
Both clubs are currently being sold and Portland owner Merritt Paulson’s fine is being directed towards the establishment of an NWSL Player Safety Office.
The NWSL also added that they will be working with the owners of both teams to “ensure the club is transferred quickly and appropriately”.
The NWSLPA released a statement following the announcement, saying: “This is a crucial step in holding clubs and team leaders accountable for their acts or inactions that threaten and betray the safety of players.
“People in positions of power who harmed players were relieved of their duties, banned from the league, suspended or fined.
“A new NWSL begins today. No sanction will ever be enough to undo the damage too many players have suffered. By taking back our power, players have achieved a complete and complete overhaul of the NWSL ecosystem, from the league office to club owners and staff, with new policies and systems to protect player safety.’
A joint investigation by the NWSL and the NWSL Players Association found “widespread misconduct” just months after US Soccer released an independent report.
An independent investigation into the scandals that erupted in the National Women’s Soccer League last season found that emotional abuse and sexual misconduct in the sport were systemic, affecting multiple teams, coaches and players, according to a report released last year.
A coach called a player over to review a feature film and instead showed her pornography, according to the New York Times. Meanwhile, another was reportedly known to verbally abuse him his players and then ask them about their sex lives.
Another is said to have coerced several players into sexual relations and was fired by his team over the disturbing behaviour, but the club failed to warn another franchise when he was hired by a rival team just months later.
US Soccer has commissioned the investigation into Yates and law firm King & Spaulding after former NWSL players Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim brought up allegations of harassment and sexual assault dating back a decade and involving former coach Paul Riley was who denied the allegations.
Her account was first published by The Athletic in September 2021.
Five out of ten NWSL coaches were either fired or resigned last season following allegations of misconduct. Among them was North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley, who was fired after two former players, Mana Shim (right) and Sinead Farrelly (left), accused him of sexual assault and harassment a decade ago. Riley denied the allegations
Both Shim and Farrelly claim Riley, 58, often took them out drinking and used those moments to urge them to have sex, according to The Athletic’s report. In an alleged incident in 2012, Riley, a Liverpool native who was then 47 and married, took Farrelly and another player to his hotel room and had sex with both of them.
Riley’s refrain, which Farrelly often repeated after having sex with her coach, was that they “would take it to the grave.”
Among other things, Shim told ESPN that Riley invited her to his hotel room one night.
“He quickly closed the door behind me,” Shim said. ‘I saw he was in his underwear.
“He told me to go to bed and watch a movie,” she continued. ‘No film was pulled up. I knew at that point that I had to find a way out and I wasn’t willing to compromise myself for my career or for this person.”
Shim says she first complained about Riley in 2015 when she played for him with the Portland Thorns. But while the team refused to re-sign him after his contract expired, he was still signed by the NWSL’s Western New York Flash the following season and by Courage in 2017.
Portland Thorns owner Merritt Paulson is selling the team after pressure from fans and players
Additional fines and suspensions were imposed on officers and clubs who also committed abuse or misconduct.
Craig Harrington, former Utah Royals manager, and Alyse LaHue, former general manager of Gotham FC, were both suspended for two years and any subsequent employment comes with strings attached.
In addition, four clubs face fines as follows: Racing Louisville will be fined $200,000, North Carolina Courage will be fined $100,000, OL Reign will be fined $50,000 and Gotham FC will be fined $50,000.
Additionally, Racing Louisville and North Carolina Courage are required to hire a separate employee from the USL teams they are affiliated with (Louisville City FC and North Carolina FC) who is “completely” different from the men’s team with which it owns Splits.
Both Craig Harrington and Alyse LaHue are suspended from the league for two years
There were two notable exceptions to the penalties, although both clubs were named in the report.
First, Kansas City Current players spoke out about abuse and retaliation from supervisors. The NWSL said that while these allegations were “worrying”, they concluded that “there is no finding that the club has taken any retaliatory action against players”.
Second, the Washington Spirit came under scrutiny due to Burke’s actions – leading to the league forcing then-CEO Steve Baldwin to sell the club. This deal was completed in March 2022, with ownership transferred to Y. Michele Kang.
“Due to the change in ownership and staffing of the club resulting from the investigation, the league will not impose any further corrective action on the club,” the league’s statement said.
With the Washington Spirit in new ownership by Y. Michele Kang, the league elected not to issue further corrective penalties such as fines
“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,” said league commissioner Jessica Berman.
“These actions are fundamental to the future of our league, especially as we build a league that strengthens our players’ ability to thrive and thrive on and off the pitch.
“As part of our commitment to accountability and deterrence, the League has determined that further corrective action is appropriate and necessary with respect to certain organizations and individuals identified in the joint investigation report.”
Berman later added: “The league and its clubs have taken significant steps to initiate this structural reform and understand and accept the continued commitment to improving the league standards necessary to ensure a safe and positive environment for our players, staff, fans and create partners.
“Our league and clubs are committed to making these changes and will do so with continued input from the NWSL Players Association to make the NWSL a league that sets the standard for the future of the sport.”
NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman says “the league and its clubs have taken significant steps to initiate this structural reform” and that they “are committed to making these changes”.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-11616053/NWSL-BANS-Paul-Riley-Christy-Holly-Rory-Dames-Richie-Burke-LIFE-league.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 The NWSL bans Paul Riley, Christy Holly, Rory Dames and Richie Burke from the league for life