Lisa Baird, who was underneath fireplace for her dealing with of sexual misconduct allegations towards a head coach, resigned Friday evening as commissioner of the highest US skilled girls’s soccer league.
Baird’s choice was introduced in a press release posted on the National Women’s Soccer League’s Twitter account and comes simply hours after she mentioned the NWSL was calling off this weekend’s matches across the United States.
“The National Women’s Soccer League on Friday has received and accepted Lisa Baird’s resignation as its commissioner,” the league mentioned.
The choice to take away Baird was made by the league’s board of administrators, American sports activities broadcaster ESPN reported. No substitute has been introduced.
Baird’s resignation comes a day after the North Carolina Courage fired head coach Paul Riley for what the group known as “very serious allegations of misconduct.”
“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,” Baird mentioned earlier Friday earlier than she resigned.
“I am so sorry for the pain so many are feeling,” she added in a press release. “Recognizing that trauma, we have decided not to take the field this weekend to give everyone some space to reflect.”
Baird was named NWSL commissioner in February 2020, succeeding Amanda Duffy.
Riley’s dismissal got here after The Athletic web site detailed wide-ranging sexual misconduct by the 58-year-old Englishman spanning a number of groups and leagues since 2010.
Riley was the second NWSL coach to be dismissed this week after the league terminated Washington Spirit coach Richie Burke’s contract following an investigation into allegations of verbal and emotional abuse.
US internationals Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe have been among the many gamers who’ve criticized the league’s dealing with of the Riley allegations.
“Bottom line: Protect your players. Do the right thing NWSL,” Morgan tweeted.
“Men, protecting men, who are abusing women. I’ll say it again, men, protecting men, who are ABUSING WOMEN,” Rapinoe tweeted. “Burn it all down. Let all their heads roll.”
– ‘A pattern’ –
According to The Athletic, gamers Sinead Farrelly and Meleana “Mana” Shim had made allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards Riley.
Farrelly, who performed for Riley at three completely different groups in several leagues, accused him of “sexual coercion” whereas he was her coach on the Philadelphia Independence.
She mentioned she had been coerced into having intercourse with Riley after going to his lodge room following a defeat within the Women’s Professional Soccer League closing in 2011. Riley allegedly informed her “we’re taking this to our graves.”
In one other incident throughout his reign on the Portland Thorns, Farrelly and Shim mentioned Riley had compelled them to kiss one another whereas at his condominium.
“This guy has a pattern,” Shim informed The Athletic.
Morgan, who performed underneath Riley on the similar time, confirmed the gamers’ allegations and mentioned she had tried to assist them file a report with the league.
“The league was informed of these allegations multiple times and refused multiple times to investigate,” Morgan mentioned. “The league must accept responsibility for a process that failed to protect its own players from this abuse.”
In a press release to The Athletic, Riley denied wrongdoing, describing the allegations as “completely untrue.”
“I have never had sex with, or made sexual advances towards these players,” he mentioned.
The league’s gamers’ union NWSLPA mentioned on Twitter that “systemic abuse” was “plaguing the NWSL.”
“Words cannot adequately capture our anger, pain, sadness and disappointment,” the NWSLPA mentioned.
On Thursday Baird mentioned the league was implementing a brand new nameless reporting course of for gamers, and group and league workers.
FIFA introduced it had reached out to each the NWSL and US Soccer as a part of a “preliminary investigation” it was conducting.
“FIFA is deeply concerned by the recent reports in the US made by several players. Due to the severity and seriousness of the allegations being made by players, we can confirm that FIFA’s judicial bodies are actively looking into the matter,” the world soccer physique mentioned.
“FIFA’s position is clear: anyone found guilty of misconduct and abuse in football shall be brought to justice, sanctioned and removed from the game.”
US Soccer, which helped discovered the NWSL in 2013, mentioned it was launching its personal investigation.
“We take seriously our responsibility to vigorously investigate the abhorrent behavior that has been reported and gain a full and frank understanding of the factors that allowed it to happen, and the changes that should be made to make sure it does not happen again,” the league mentioned.