An investigation by the United States Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and its players’ association (NWSLPA) on Wednesday revealed that soccer players from at least six of the twelve clubs participating in the championship are still subjected to abuse and disrespectful behaviour. are victims of.
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The investigation was entrusted fourteen months ago by the NWSL and NWSLPA to the law firms ‘Covington & Burling LLP’ and ‘Weil, Gotshall & Manges LLP’ after a group of players stated that US women’s soccer was the scene of systematic abuse. by coaches and managers.
According to this 128-page report, abuse continues in “more than half” of the clubs that participate in the NWSL, and that’s because the league, despite the efforts made so far, still has an unstable environment that is conducive to bullying behavior. supports. ,
The report states, “The NWSL has increased efforts to crack down on misconduct, taken on greater responsibility, and experienced a cultural shift toward behaviors that are no longer tolerated. However, much work still needs to be done.” remains to be done.”
“During the course of this investigation, the investigation team received reports of misconduct from more than half of the league’s clubs,” it said.
Furthermore, it noted that the players “were often reminded of the league’s fragility and lack of financial stability.”
“From the first moment, players were asked to be grateful, even if they were not given the resources or respect typical of professional athletes,” the researchers opined.
the commissioner apologizes
NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman acknowledged that the league “systematically failed to protect players” and apologized for mistakes made.
He pledged to work to fix the league, take steps to right wrongs, and reform the system.
“We are committed to creating a healthy and positive environment for our players, coaching staff and fans,” he added.
Victims also include Portland and Chicago
Those responsible for the disrespectful behavior of the players include Arnim Whistler, owner of the Chicago Red Stars, and Merritt Paulson, owner of the current NWSL champion Portland Thorns.
Last week, Whistler decided to begin the process of selling the club, while Paulsson resigned his position in October, denouncing “disgusting and predatory” behaviour.
“I apologize to our players, franchises and the Portland community for the mistakes we made. It is devastating to me that my goal of creating a shining example of what women’s sports can be became synonymous with hateful and predatory behavior is,” Paulson said.
In nearly 200 interviews with former and current players, coaches, club owners or squad personnel, manipulative tactics that were more about abuse of power than game improvement and a worrying pattern of comments with sexual content emerged came. Unwanted touching or forced sexual intercourse.
Teams, leagues and federations “failed to respond systematically enough not only when faced with player complaints and indications of abuse, but also when it came to establishing measures to prevent and deal with it,” on that document. Insisted.
As a result of this lack of vigilance, the coaches responsible for these abuses moved from one team to another without upholding their contracts, whitewashed by press releases in which the club thanked them for the services they had provided.