Riley becomes third NWSL coach to fired for sexual misconduct since August

October 1 – National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) side North Carolina Courage have dismissed their English head coach Paul Riley following allegations of sexual misconduct. He becomes the third NWSL coach to be fired for misconduct since August.

Earlier this week the Washington Spirit sacked Richie Burke and on Thursday Riley was removed from his role after players detailed what they described as abusive sexually coercive behaviour. Riley has denied the accusations.

“In light of today’s reports, the North Carolina Courage have terminated Head Coach Paul Riley, effective immediately, following very serious allegations of misconduct,” said the club in a statement.

“I was shocked and disgusted to read the new allegations,” said NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird, but the new dismissals raise questions over the league’s own investigations into potential harassment cases.

The Athletic reported allegations Riley coerced a player into having sex with him; forced two players to kiss and then sent them unsolicited sexual pictures. He also belittled them.

North Carolina Courage statement continued: “The Courage support the players who have come forward and we commend them for bravely sharing their stories.

“The North Carolina Football Club is united together in our commitment to creating a safe, positive and respectful environment, not only within our club but across the league and our great sport.”

The NWSL players’ association has called for an investigation, saying the league has failed the players.

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