Coach Riley suspended by NWSL due to sexual harassment claims
A huge scandal has emerged in the United States women’s football as the North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley has been accused of alleged sexual harassment of the players Sinead Farrelly and Meleana Shim.
Although Riley, one of the league’s most successful coaches, claimed that most of the allegations were unfounded and “completely false”, a wave of criticism from players was immediately triggered and forced the suspension of this weekend’s games.
Farrelly and Shim told The Athletic that Riley coerced them into kissing each other and one of the two claimed that he coerced her into sex.
Following the allegations, Riley has been fired by his team and has been permanently suspended by the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
After several figures of American women’s football demonstrated their full support towards Farrelly and Shim, and harshly criticised the NWSL, the board of directors decided to dismiss commissioner Lisa Baird, who had barely been in office for 19 months, and attorney general Lisa Levine.
Meanwhile, the United States Soccer Federation stressed on Friday night that it will initiate an independent investigation into the alleged sexual abuse scandal.
FIFA announced through their official Twitter account that they will also open a preliminary investigation into the case and urged both US Soccer and NWSL to provide them with more information about the matter.
“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 and have opened a preliminary investigation,” said FIFA.
“As part of this, FIFA will be reaching out to the respective parties, including US Soccer and NWSL, for further information about the various safeguarding concerns and allegations of abuse that have been raised.”
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