National Women’s Football League interim CEO Marla Messing has announced an agreement with the players’ association to respond to demands made in the wake of the abuse and harassment scandals that have rocked the league.
Messing, who took on the role of CEO this week, also said the league would work with the union to investigate the allegations. The league has hired law firm Covington & Burling to conduct the investigation.
âThe goal of the NWSL is to be the best women’s soccer league in the world,â Messing said Wednesday. âWe need to eradicate these problems and this behavior so that we are able to achieve this goal. “
Two former players have accused former North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley of harassment and sexual coercion. Amid the fallout, Riley was fired and NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird resigned.
Further harassment allegations have come to light regarding former Washington Spirit coach Richie Burke, who was also fired. OL coach Reign Farid Benstiti was sacked this summer for inappropriate behavior in training.
Following these reports, the NWSLPA made a series of demands for accountability. In agreeing to respond to these requests, Messing said she is committed to being transparent when it comes to working with the union.
Messing was president and CEO of the 1999 Women’s World Cup and helped land Los Angeles’ Olympic bid in 2028. Most recently, she was CEO of USTA Southern California.
In his role as CEO, Messing will oversee league operations and work with the board of governors. She replaces the three-woman executive that was appointed to lead the league after Baird resigned.
The league continues its search for a permanent commissioner. Messing stopped before saying she would like a permanent role.
âThere are a lot of challenges. And right now, you know, my mandate is to oversee investigations to make sure institutional change happens and manage the day-to-day operations of the league – and frankly that’s what I’m focusing on, âa- she mentioned.
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