Four coaches banned for life after NWSL abuse, misconduct probe

Four football coaches named in a National Women's Soccer League investigation into abuse and malpractice in women's football have been banned for life, the NWSL said in a statement on Monday.

The punishments were part of a wide-ranging package of suspensions and fines against multiple individuals and organisations which followed publication of the NWSL's findings last month in its Joint Investigative Report.

The league last month said it had found "ongoing misconduct" at most league clubs after an earlier probe uncovered evidence of harassment and sexual abuse.

The NWSL investigation spent 14 months examining complaints by NWSL players and uncovered systemic failures by the league.

The coaches hit with life bans on Monday included Paul Riley, Christy Holly, Rory Dames and Richie Burke.

Former Portland Thorns coach Riley featured prominently in a separate US Soccer probe led by former US Attorney General Sally Yates.

Former Chicago Red Stars coach Dames also came under scrutiny in the Yates report, which detailed allegations of verbal abuse and insults to players.

Holly, a former Racing Louisville coach, was fired after being accused of sexually coercing and groping a player.

The Washington Spirit's Burke meanwhile was reported to have made remarks about race and ethnicity.

Seven other individuals were also given suspensions or will be required to acknowledge wrongdoing and accept responsibility for inappropriate conduct before being considered for employment in the NWSL in future.

The NWSL meanwhile said its own league office would be fined at least $1 million and would be required to undergo a sweeping overhaul.

NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman said the league would "continue to prioritize implementing and enhancing the policies, programs and systems that put the health and safety of our players first."

"Those actions are fundamental to the future of our league, especially as we build a league that strengthens our players' ability to succeed and prosper on and off the pitch," Berman added.

The Chicago Red Stars will be fined $1.5 million, the NWSL said, while the Portland Thorns would be forced to pay $1 million.

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