New York City FC Sexual Harassment Investigation Finds 'Unacceptable' Behaviour

Nov 7, 2020, 12:26 PM GMT
NYCFC Pop-Up Experience Store VIP Launch Party
NYCFC have reported 'unacceptable' behaviour in an internal sexual harassment investigation | Noam Galai/Getty Images

MLS side New York City FC have announced that an internal investigation into a sexual harassment allegation found 'inappropriate and unacceptable' behaviour from members of staff towards a female intern.

The club launched the investigation after a former intern made sexual harassment allegations regarding former NYCFC striker David Villa and other club employees - although Villa's name was not mentioned in the statement.

David Villa
Villa was the subject of allegations, which he continues to deny | Mark Brown/Getty Images

NYCFC confirmed that of the individuals accused, only one is still at the club, and they have been disciplined.

"The allegations made during the course of the investigation were that a small number of players and staff did not act in accordance with the club's standards in their interactions with the intern and with other club staff," a club statement read [via ESPN].

"This behaviour included unnecessary physical contact, teasing, and comments regarding clothing and appearance. The club found that this behaviour was inappropriate and unacceptable.

"NYCFC must continually strive to do better and maintain a workplace environment and culture that reflects the Club's standards and values.

NYCFC Pop-Up Experience Store VIP Launch Party
NYCFC are implementing changes to prevent a reoccurrence of the behaviour | Noam Galai/Getty Images

"The Club is the process of implementing a series of changes within the organisation aimed at ensuring that such behaviour does not occur in the future, including: enhancing reporting processes for victims of misconduct; instituting enhanced education and awareness training on harassment and workplace conduct for all staff, including interns; improving the onboarding and training process for interns; and instituting clear protocols for investigating workplace misconduct."

Villa denied the allegations when they were made in July, and continued to do so through a spokesperson following the results of the investigation.

"David has always taken this issue seriously and fully cooperated with the investigation, but as he has said from the beginning, these claims are not true," the spokesman said.

In July, the female intern alleged that she rarely went a day without the former Spain striker 'grabbing or verbally harassing' her, adding [via]: “Women brave enough to tell their stories this loudly are my heroes.”