30 September (WNN) — The North Carolina Courage of the National Women’s Soccer League fired head coach Paul Riley on Thursday after more than a decade of “serious allegations of misconduct,” the club announced.
The announcement came after The Athletic published an investigative report that included comments from more than a dozen players from each of Riley’s teams since 2010, including two named players who went on record with allegations against them.
In the report, Riley was accused of sexual coercion and making inappropriate comments about players’ weight and sexual orientation.
“In light of today’s reports, North Carolina Courage has terminated head coach Paul Riley, effective immediately, following serious allegations of misconduct,” the team said. said in a statement. “Courage supports the players who have come forward and we applaud them for bravely sharing their stories.
“North Carolina Football Club is united in our commitment to creating a safe, positive and respectful environment not only within our club but also within the league and our great sport.
“As stated previously, players and staff are encouraged to report any inappropriate behavior in accordance with NWSL policy as we prioritize our efforts to maintain the highest professional standards of conduct throughout the organization. ”
The Courage announced that Sean Nahas would be the team’s interim head coach for the rest of the season.
The US Soccer Federation also suspended Riley’s coaching license with immediate effect. saying in a statement That “abusive behavior described by forward-thinking courageous athletes is regressive, unacceptable and has zero place in soccer or society.”
Earlier on Thursday, the NWSL Players Association called for an investigation into Riley, who denied most of the allegations. In an email to The Athletic, the coach said most of the allegations were “completely untrue”.
NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird issued a statement On Thursday she said she was “shocked” and “disgusted” by the allegations.
“A safe and secure work environment is a top priority for the league and its collective ownership,” Baird said. “The league has a comprehensive anti-harassment/anti-discrimination policy.
“We are implementing a new anonymous reporting process that allows players, teams, and league staff to send their concerns to the league, which will be investigated promptly. We encourage our players and everyone involved in the league to raise their concerns. We ask you, as we continue, to make our league a safe, positive and respectful environment for our players, clubs, staff and fans.”