NWSL bans Spirit coach over abuse allegations

The National Women’s Soccer League has announced Washington Spirit coach Richie Burke can no longer work in the league following an investigation into allegations of verbal and emotional abuse of players leveled against him.

Burke was suspended last month following the abuse claims. Since then a fan group launched a protest and called for club owner Steve Baldwin to step down after concerns over player welfare.

The NWSL said Tuesday that Burke was terminated for cause after its investigation showed he cannot work with any players in the league.

A statement added “the Spirit and its ownership have failed to act in the best interests of the League” and “representatives for the Washington Spirit will not be permitted to participate in League governance matters, effective immediately, and has initiated a process pursuant to which Washington Soccer Properties, LLC, must respond to the violation notice issued by the board within 14 days.”

The NWSL said the full findings of its investigation will remain confidential to support the integrity of the process and to protect those who agreed to speak with investigators.

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