There has been a NWSL corrective action announcement in response to the Joint Investigative Report’s findings. The Joint Investigative Team determined that the league-wide and U.S. Soccer shortcomings were mostly systemic in nature and offered suggestions for a number of fundamental and forward-looking adjustments to strengthen the league’s policies and procedures.
The league was free to decide what sanctions would apply to certain people or groups. In response to the investigation findings, specifically those outlined in Section V, NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman has imposed, where appropriate, individual bans, suspensions, and fines as well as the requirements by which certain individuals would be eligible for future employment in the league.
Rox and Ken discuss the actions and whether or not they are enough.
- NWSL Corrective Action for Individuals
- Level One: Permanent Exclusion from NWSL
- Level Two: Suspension and Future Employment in the NWSL is Conditional
- Level Three: Future Employment in the NWSL is Conditional
- NWSL Corrective Action for Organizations
NWSL Corrective Action for Individuals
Level One: Permanent Exclusion from NWSL
- Paul Riley
- Christy Holly
- Rory Dames
- Richie Burke
Level Two: Suspension and Future Employment in the NWSL is Conditional
- Craig Harrington: Craig Harrington is ineligible to work in the NWSL in any capacity for two (2) years (i.e., until at least January 9, 2025) and to qualify for future employment he must meet the requirements set forth below.
- Alyse LaHue: Alyse LaHue is ineligible to work in the NWSL in any capacity for two (2) years (i.e., until at least January 9, 2025) and to qualify for future employment she must meet the requirements set forth below.
The following conditions will need to be met in order to be eligible for future employment with the league: admitting wrongdoing and accepting personal responsibility for improper conduct, taking part in training, and displaying a real desire to changing behavior.
Level Three: Future Employment in the NWSL is Conditional
- Farid Benstiti
- James Clarkson
- Vera Pauw
- Amanda Cromwell (previously communicated October 10, 2022)
- Sam Greene (previously communicated October 10, 2022)
- Aline Reis (previously communicated October 10, 2022)
Future employment within the league will be conditioned on the following factors being established to the satisfaction of the Commissioner in her complete discretion: acknowledging wrongdoing and accepting personal responsibility for inappropriate conduct, participating in training, and demonstrating a sincere commitment to correcting behavior.
NWSL Corrective Action for Organizations
Level One: Not Less Than $1 Million and Systemic Changes
- NWSL League Office
Since Fall 2021, the league has incurred millions of dollars in expenses to gather information for an impartial inquiry conducted in collaboration with the NWSLPA and to carry out extensive systemic improvements. In order to establish a suitable and professional atmosphere that prioritizes the health and safety of players, the league and its teams have been investing sizeable additional resources.
These initiatives will continue, and the league will manage the necessary policy, programmatic, and procedural reforms under the new administration. More precisely, the league released an update on its systemic reform pledges for the 2023 season and beyond on December 14, 2022. Before the 2023 season, the league will provide an update on these projects.
- U.S. Soccer: The NWSL has no authority over U.S. Soccer.
The NWSL expects and wants to work together with U.S. Soccer in its efforts to strengthen the ecosystem for girls’ and women’s soccer and is represented on the U.S. Soccer Participant Safety Taskforce. The NWSL also invited U.S. Soccer to participate in the NWSL’s efforts to bring about reform in the professional ranks since their work will inevitably be centered on the proper scope of authority in the governing body’s position.
- Chicago Red Stars: $1.5 Million. Further, Arnim Whisler is selling the Chicago Red Stars and the NWSL will work collaboratively with him to ensure that the club is transferred in an expeditious and appropriate manner.
- Portland Thorns: $1 Million (previously announced by Merritt Paulson as a pledge to support the establishment of an NWSL Player Safety Office). Further, Paulson is selling the Portland Thorns and the NWSL will work collaboratively with him to ensure that the club is transferred in an expeditious and appropriate manner.
Level Two: Not Less Than $100,000
- Racing Louisville: $200,000. Further, Racing Louisville will be required to hire a sporting staff (i.e., coaches and general managers) that is completely distinct from the men’s team with which it shares ownership, and the Racing Louisville staff must report directly into ownership.
- North Carolina Courage: $100,000. Further, the Courage will be required to hire a sporting staff (i.e., coaches and general managers) that is completely distinct from the men’s team with which it shares ownership, and the Courage staff must report directly into ownership.
Level Three – Not Less Than $50,000
- OL Reign: $50,000.
- Gotham FC (previously, Sky Blue FC): $50,000.
Clubs Named But Not Subject to Penalties
- Washington Spirit: Following the results of the NWSL-commissioned 2021 independent investigation into the misconduct by Burke and the inaction by Steve Baldwin, the then-CEO and controlling owner, the NWSL took steps to force Baldwin to sell the club. The club sale to Y. Michele Kang was finalized in March 2022. Due to the change in club ownership and staffing resulting from the investigation, the league will not impose any further corrective action on the club.
- Kansas City Current: While it is concerning that several players raised concerns about being mistreated or retaliation upon raising those concerns, there is no finding that the club retaliated against players.
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