November 26, 2022

NWSL Commissioner Baird resigns amid scandal

National Women’s Football League commissioner Lisa Baird has resigned after 19 months in office amid allegations that the former women’s coach was involved in sexual harassment and misconduct.

The league’s resignation was announced by the league a day after the athletics released the accounts of two former players who were accused of misconduct, including sexual harassment by North Carolina coach Paul Riley.

The relay was bravely fired on Thursday and the charges touched a wave of protests from players who were forced to cancel games this weekend.

In addition, FIFA began investigating the case on Friday. The international governing body of football is rarely involved in controversy involving members. American Soccer announced an independent investigation on Friday.

US Soccer was instrumental in founding the NWSL in 2013 and supported the league until its independence last year. The federation continues to finance the league.

“The main responsibility of every person involved in this sport is the safety and respect of the player. This is true at every age, level of competition and ability,” said Cindy Cohn, president of the American Football Association in a statement. We owe it to the community to take every meaningful step in our power. “

U.S. Football Confederation (AFCB) on Thursday suspended Riley’s training license after an athlete released a statement alleging abuse by former NWSL players Ciniat Forrelli and Mana Shim.

FIFA told the Associated Press that it was “very concerned” by the lawsuit and would seek further details from US football officials on the issues now being raised.

“Due to the seriousness and seriousness of the allegations made by the players, we can confirm that FIFA’s judicial bodies are actively investigating the matter and have begun an initial investigation,” FIFA said in a statement. “As part of this, FIFA will reach out to the respective parties, including US Soccer and NWSL, for further information on various security concerns and allegations of abuse.”

The alleged harassment of Ferrelli began in 2011 when Philadelphia was a player of independence in the now defunct Women’s Professional Football League.

He told the website that the harassment continued while Farrell was with Portland thorns. Former Thorns player Shim is said to have suffered harassment. The Mulls said Thursday that the team had investigated claims about Riley and sent them to the league when he was fired.

Riley told the athlete that the allegations were “completely false.”

The outcry over the allegations shook the league and forced it to cancel this weekend’s games. The NWSL Players’ Association said it hoped fans would understand and support the decision.

“It’s okay to take the place to process, feel and take care of yourself,” the union said. “Actually, it’s more than a matter of right, it’s a priority. That, as players, will be our focus this weekend.

Byrd was commissioner of the NWSL in February 2020, after serving as chief marketing officer for the U.S. Olympic Committee. He was lauded for introducing new sponsors to the NWSL and for increasing the league’s visibility on the national stage.

OL Rein midfielder Jess Fishlock, who has been playing since the start of the NWSL in 2013, suggested that the league and overall women’s sports should be in the middle of a reckoning.

“I think a lot of female athletes have passed over the years, not just women’s football,” Fishlock said. “I think everyone knows what happened to USA gymnastics, it’s been going on in women’s sports for many, many years. We never felt safe enough to talk about it. … and I think we’re done now.

Riley was the head coach of the Thorns in 2014 and 2015. After he was freed from the thorns, he became the head coach of the West New York Flash for a season before the team was sold out and moved to North Carolina.

In its ninth season, the NWSL team was rocked by a recent series of scandals involving officials.

Washington Spirit coach Richie Burke has been fired after verbally and emotionally abusing players in a Washington Post report. The league formally rejected Burke and allowed Spirit on Tuesday after an independent investigation.

Gotham FC general manager Alice Lahu was sacked in July following an investigation into the league’s anti – bloc policy. She refused to make any mistake.

Racing Louisville coach Christy Holly was fired in September, but the reasons for her dismissal have not been made public.

OL Rain coach Farid Benstiti abruptly resigned in July. On Friday, Phil Fredmore, CEO and minority owner of OL Rain, asked Benstiti to step down after an incident that was not disclosed during training.

Bensteady has previously been accused of sexual misconduct by US national team midfielder Lindsay Horan during his tenure as Paris Saint-Germain coach. Horan said he was hit by Benstiti because of his weight.


Abby Sports writer Eddie Bells contributed to this report.


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