“We will not let them rob us of joy”

BarcelonaWomen’s professional football in the United States stops matches in the 6th minute to support players who reported sexual abuse in this competition. The 6th minute refers to the six years that it has taken the complaints of Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim to be heard. “We demand our place in the field because we will not let them rob us of joy. But it’s not the same: the teams will stop the game of each game in the 6th minute. remains to be heard, ”said the footballers of all the NWSL teams in a statement.

Farrelly and Shim have accused coach Paul Riley of continued sexual abuse since 2015, when they were Portland Thorns players. The two complaints were joined by another by Kaiya McCullough.

Striking testimony

The league was hit a few days ago when the two former players filed harassment allegations, including sexual coercion, against Paul Riley, who was fired as coach of the North Carolina Courage team. Both FIFA and the US Football Federation have opened investigations to clarify why he was able to continue coaching following complaints from players in the league.

League commissioner Lisa Baird had to resign for not reacting before. “Football takes seriously the responsibility of vigorously investigating the reported conduct, gaining a full and frank understanding of the factors that allowed it to happen and taking important steps to prevent it from happening again in the future,” the federation said in a statement. . The board of governors of the football league appointed a new executive committee, consisting of Amanda Duffy, Angie Long and Sophie Sauvage, to oversee the main body until the vacancy left by Baird, who has filled only nineteen, is replaced. months the charge. “On behalf of the entire league, we are touched by what too many players have had to endure simply to compete in the sport they love, and we are very sorry,” the three new executives said in a joint statement.

“It’s a predator”

Mana Shim believes Paul Riley has put an end to his career. “It is a predator. He sexually harassed me, sexually coerced Sinead, and stole our careers from us. From the beginning there was a possession not only of Paul, but also of the team for which he played. I was silenced for many problems, although my sexuality was the most important thing, and I always felt very uncomfortable, “he said in an interview with NBC Today Show after that The Athletic uncover your case.

“Every day I would train or play games in fear,” Shim said. The only support he received from his teammates: “The support received from all over the world has impressed me and given a certain meaning to my pain. Everyone who has approached me has turned this situation into a movement. They have really amplified our voice and made it what it should be, a big problem that requires change. ”

Riley, one of the most award-winning professional football coaches in the U.S., defended himself by saying most of the allegations were unfounded and “completely false,” but several teammates have validated the allegations and many figures from the U.S. ‘American sport have supported the victims.

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