Women's Football

NWSL announces executive committee amid misconduct allegations

Lizzy Becherano
NWSL announced new committee after commissioner Lisa Baird resigned
NWSL announced new committee after commissioner Lisa Baird resigned / Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The National Women’s Soccer League announced its board of governors has formed an executive committee to manage oversight of the front office operations following the resignation of commissioner Lisa Baird. 

The group will include Orlando Pride’s Amanda Duffy, Kansas City NWSL member Angie Long and OL Reign representative Sophie Sauvage. The league also confirmed that a global search for a permanent commissioner is underway.

"On behalf of the entire league, we are heartbroken for what far too many players have had to endure in order to simply play the game they love, and we are so incredibly sorry," the three executive committee members said in a statement. 

"We understand that we must undertake a significant systemic and cultural transformation to address the issues required to become the type of league that NWSL players and their fans deserve and regain the trust of both. We're committed to doing just that and recognize that this won't happen overnight, but only through vigilance over time."

The league’s announcement comes amid revelations reported by The Athletic that former North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley allegedly engaged in sexually coercive and emotionally abusive behavior.

The NWSL has also revealed several new investigative and reform initiatives to protect players and staff, and the environments in which athletes live, train, and compete 'to give athletes the agency and ability to safely report misconduct of any form.'

The new policies include an independent review of practices and policies at the league and club levels, comprehensive procedures created for the league to ensure that there is a transparent and effective execution of any harassment issues, and the continuation of ongoing investigations initiated under the NWSL's current anti-harassment rules. 

Most importantly, the league revealed it is reopening the 2015 investigation regarding former coach Paul Riley, including a review of the circumstances surrounding his departure from Portland Thorns, and his subsequent hiring by Western New York Flash and North Carolina Courage.