A second report of widespread misconduct was issued in the National Women’s Soccer League, the largest women’s professional soccer league in the United States. A notable name that goes into this is Vera Pauw, who was in charge of the Houston Dash in 2018.
Pau, the former Dutch women’s national coach, who is now successful with the Irish women’s national team she managed to guide to the 2023 World Cup, is said to have been guilty of making comments about – in her eyes – some players being overweight.
She would also try to exert excessive control over the football players’ eating habits. For example, she discouraged them from eating fruit because of its sugar content.
According to the report, Bao criticized the players for being “too big” while blatantly praising others for their weight loss. There was no relationship to health or performance. According to the players, one of them suffers from an eating disorder because of the comments made by the Amsterdam player.
The report states that although Bao appeared before the investigation team, she refused to cooperate and then limited herself to a written denial of what she “believed” were the allegations against her. She also spoke out against commenting on the player’s appearance.
“He wanted to cooperate”
Pauw tells NOS things turned out differently. “Of course I cooperated. Immediately. I just wanted to record the conversation. I was there alone in front of four members of the research team. Then they unilaterally stopped the conversation.”
“That’s why I put my story in writing. Because I wanted to cooperate and be open. But apparently I had to appear at this investigation anyway. I can’t say anything else about it now, but it will happen, because that’s beyond my limits.” .
The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) sees no reason to take any action at this time. On the contrary, the league says it fully supports Pau as she prepares with the national team for next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Ireland qualified for that World Final tournament for the first time.
The research team’s findings largely coincided with those of another independent study published in October. The team received reports of continued misconduct at “more than half” of the NWSL clubs during the 14-month investigation.
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