Megan Rapinoe on systemic abuse and misconduct in women’s football


United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) star Megan Rapinoe has reiterated that female footballers are angry and exhausted following an independent investigative report that uncovered systemic abuse and misconduct in women’s professional football.

Released on Monday, the report – led by former acting attorney general Sally Yates – was based on more than 200 interviews and reveals that the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) did not managed to provide a safe environment for players.

“As sick as it sounds, I feel like we are used to having to take on much more than game planning and tactics. I feel like we have an incredible capacity to put up with so much,” Rapinoe told reporters in London on Thursday.

Rapinoe, who plays professionally for OL Reign of the NWSL, was asked about her thoughts on the repercussions of liability following the release of the report.

“These people hold positions that have responsibilities and they have not fulfilled those responsibilities. They haven’t protected the players at all year after year, year after year. I feel like it’s impossible to overstate that every year somebody said something about multiple coaches in the league about multiple different environments,” she said.

“None of these people have shown that they deserve to be around this beautiful game.”

Rapinoe said she drew on years of experience on how she dealt with uncomfortable topics such as unequal pay, inequality and systemic abuse.

Asked about a global response to the abuse allegations, Rapinoe replied: “Having some sort of policy in place – there’s absolutely nothing to hold anyone accountable for it. It’s hard to hold people accountable even when there is something in place.

“So whether it’s at the FIFA level or at the confederation level, at least having those policies in place or having hotlines that people can report to or reporting systems that have teeth and are actually real and won’t just be thrown to the side of the road is really important.

“From FIFA’s perspective as stewards of the game, I think they have a responsibility to do everything in their power to ensure that every player is in a safe environment when they want to. to play.”

The report comes about a year after the league was thrown into chaos following a report by The Athletic detailing allegations of sexual coercion and misconduct against Paul Riley, who coached three NWSL franchises for eight seasons.

He was fired by North Carolina Courage after The Athletic cited players on file alleging that for years Riley used his influence and power to sexually harass players and, in one incident, coerce a player into have sex with him.

Riley denied the charges in the Athletic report. CNN was unable to reach Riley for comment.

As a result of the Athletic report, then-NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird resigned and the league canceled all games scheduled for that weekend.

By the end of the year, half of the league’s teams had parted ways with their coaches after complaints from players, the Yates report notes.

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