NWSL cancels weekend games after coach is fired over sexual abuse claims
All of the NWSL's fixtures were cancelled over the course of the weekend
The National Women's Soccer League cancelled all of its fixtures during the weekend after the former coach of North Carolina Courage, Paul Riley, was accused of sexual abuse.
Following allegations made against Riley - who was fired on September 30 - which involved accusations of sexual coercion, the decision was made to cancel all NWSL games which were due to take place at the weekend.
Former NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird, who was removed from her position on Friday October 1, released a statement on that day saying: "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. I am so sorry for the pain so many are feeling.
“Recognising that trauma, we have decided not to take the field this weekend to give everyone some space to reflect.”
Whilst Riley himself had denied the allegations made against him, the NWSL player's union also made a statement on the Friday, saying: “Pain has stretched across years” for many players, and acknowledged the fans who would be affected by the cancellations.
“We hope that fans will understand and support us through this time,” the statement said. “This is far from over for any of us.”
Star players of the NWSL took to Twitter with star players Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan voicing their opinions on the platform.
Rapinoe said: "Never once during this whole time was the right person protected. Not Mana, not Sinead, not us not the players not the little girls who will become us not the big girls who already are us not any of US. This statement is beyond disrespectful."
Never once during this whole time was the right person protected. Not Mana, not Sinead, not us not the players not the little girls who will become us not the big girls who already are us not any of US. This statement is beyond disrespectful. https://t.co/HDPkFhFEc6
— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) September 30, 2021
Meanwhile Morgan, also stated that the NWSL "must accept responsibility for a process that failed to protect its own players" whilst also showing emails of conversations she had with Baird, where she raised concerns about the lack of action being taken against an investigation into Riley back in 2015.
(1/3)The league was informed of these allegations multiple times and refused multiple times to investigate the allegations. The league must accept responsibility for a process that failed to protect its own players from this abuse. https://t.co/KDRBhhVBcT
— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) September 30, 2021
Whilst there are games scheduled to be played in the NWSL this weekend, it remains to be seen if they will still go ahead.
- Win or lose, Megan Rapinoe’s voice has never been so loud
- Gareth Southgate admits Jadon Sancho was lucky to retain England spot
- Gareth Southgate says England team set-up urgently needs more women involved