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NWSL Players And Referees Conduct Powerful Mid-Game Protest Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations


NWSL Players And Referees Conduct Powerful Mid-Game Protest Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) players have come together in an act of solidarity following serious allegations of sexual misconduct aimed towards former coach Paul Riley.

Players from Gotham FC, Washington Spirit, North Carolina Courage, Racing Louisville, Houston Dash and the Portland Thorns all stopped their games in the sixth minute to conduct a collective protest in the middle of the pitch.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

To commence the demonstration, the referees blew their whistle on the six-minute mark and invited all the players from both teams - including substitutes - into the centre circle to link arms and unite together.


Fans inside the stadium also showed their respects by standing up and remaining silent.

"The reckoning has already begun," the players said in a statement.

"We will not be silent. We will be relentless in our pursuit of a league that deserves the players in it."

The powerful message has received widespread praise from football fans all across the globe as people flocked to social media to show their support.


The protest comes amid sexual misconduct allegations surrounding a former coach in the league.

Paul Riley, who has worked within the league since 2010, was subsequently sacked by the North Carolina Courage as reports emerged of "very serious" allegations.

According to The Athletic, footballers Sinead Farrelly and Meleana Shim made allegations of inappropriate behaviour against Riley during their time together at various teams across America.


Farrelly first accused the coach of "sexual coercion" while she was being coached by Riley at the Philadelphia Independence, with Riley allegedly telling his player "we're taking this to our graves" after they'd had sex.

Shim and Farrelly also claim that their coach forced them to kiss each other on one occasion too.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

These incidents happened a few years go and appropriate action is only being taken now.


The on-field demonstrations actually took place in the sixth minute of the games to represent the six years it took for the allegations against Riley to come out.

The hashtag #NoMoreSilence has also been launched online.

In a statement to The Athletic, Riley denied all the allegations, describing them as "completely untrue".


The fallout from the damning allegations has been huge with the NWSL copping substantial backlash, culminating in the sporting body's commissioner Lisa Baird resigning.

The Players' Association for the league has now called for an independent investigation into each NWSL club "to determine whether any abuse, whether presently known or unknown, has occurred at any point in time."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: NWSL, Football News, Football, united states, Australia, Protest

Max Sherry
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