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DC women’s soccer team coach fired after harassment investigation

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Washington Spirit coach Richie Burke has been fired following an investigation stemming from violations of the National Women’s Soccer League’s (NWSL) anti-harassment policy.

“Based on the investigation’s findings and the NWSL’s determination that the Washington Spirit head coach cannot work with any NWSL players, the Washington Spirit’s head coach has been terminated for cause,” the league said in a statement on Tuesday.

The league also banned the team from participating in governance matters, adding that team officials have 14 days to respond to the findings. 

“In order to support the integrity of the process and to protect the confidentiality of all those who courageously agreed to speak with investigators, the NWSL intends to keep the final investigation report confidential,” the NWSL said. 

The Spirit also had to forfeit two games due to breaking the league’s COVID-19 protocol, The Associated Press reported.

The league’s investigation stems from a Washington Post article published in August about former players alleging Burke verbally and emotionally abused them. 

Burke, who stepped down from being the team’s head coach due to health reasons, accepting a front-office position afterward, was suspended by the club last month, the AP reported. 

In a statement, Spirit Squadron, the team’s official supporters group, called for principal owner Steve Baldwin to sell the club. 

“We have seen enough. It is past time,” the group said in a Twitter post. “Sell the team, Steve.”

Tags NWSL Washigton D.C. Washington D.C. Washington Spirit

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