Ireland's Vera Pauw has been named in a US women's soccer league misconduct probe over weight shaming allegations

Ireland's Vera Pauw has been named in a US women's soccer league misconduct probe over weight shaming allegations

THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND WOMEN'S football manager Vera Pauw has been named in a joint investigation for the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) in the United States and their players association (NWSLPA).  

A report was released on Monday detailing instances of misconduct in the more than half the clubs in the top-flight North American league. Pauw (59) and another American coach are named in the report.  

The report written by U.S. Attorney General Sally Q for King & Spalding LLP an American international corporate law firm said that emotional abuse and sexual misconduct was systemic in the sport, which affected multiple teams, coaches and players. 

"Abuse in the NWSL is rooted in a deeper culture in women’s soccer, beginning in youth leagues, that normalizes verbally abusive coaching and blurs boundaries between coaches and players, "said Yates in her report.  

"In well over 200 interviews, we heard report after report of relentless, degrading tirades; manipulation that was about power, not improving performance; and retaliation against those who attempted to come forward. Even more disturbing were the stories of sexual misconduct. Players described a pattern of sexually charged comments, unwanted sexual advances and sexual touching, and coercive sexual intercourse," went on to add.  

The report also went onto say that the league did not implement 'basic measures" to safeguard players. 

"US Soccer, the League, and individual clubs were not clear on which entity held the ultimate responsibility for establishing and enforcing policies and practices relating to misconduct," the NWSL and NWSLPA joint investigation unit said. 

Pauw, who led Ireland to her their first World Cup spent spent one season at Houston Dash, from November 2017 to September 2018, a year before she took up her current post as Ireland boss.  

The report from NWSL & NWSLPA Joint Investigative Team states that the Ireland manger shamed players for their weight and tried to exert excessive control over their eating habits”, citing players who described her as a “power freak”. 

“Pauw appeared to want to control and micromanage players’ diets and exercise regimens even when her weight loss directives were inconsistent with sports medicine best practices — for example, players reported that Pauw discouraged them from eating fruit because of its sugar content. 

“Players reported that Pauw’s comments affected a team-mate struggling with an eating disorder.” 

Another line from the report said: "After experiencing weight-shaming by Pauw, witnesses reported that players developed eating disorders and sought mental health treatment." 

The report said the Ireland boss appeared for an interview but did not cooperate with the Joint Investigative Team. 

However, Pauw supplied a written denial of all the allegations made against her, insisting she had never made comments on a player’s appearance.  

Haley Carter a former United States Marine Corps officer and retired American professional soccer player for the Dash has also come out slamming the Ireland manager  

She tweeted out saying: "You cannot read this report and still believe Vera Pauw should be allowed to coach women athletes. It took years for players to be able to speak their truths and I'm proud of every single one of them. Abuse takes many forms and can come from women, too. 

The Dash released their own statement apologising for the issues caused 

"We apologize to players, present and former, who were subject to misconduct by James Clarkson and 2018 head coach, Vera Pauw. Our vision of building and maintaining a culture of excellence on and off the pitch starts with cultivating a respectful and healthy working environment." 

"Our priority is to ensure that our personnel and policies reflect that directive. In partnership with the NWSL, the NWSLPA, the NWSL Board of Governors, and club executives, we will continue to implement proper protocols and preventative steps that are consistent with the guidance of the league and that will prioritize the safety of all members of our organization to address the systemic reform our sport requires." 

"Together with Dash players, staff, fans and partners, we will work jointly towards a brighter future." 

The FAI have not responded to the allegations surrounding their employee yet.