NWSL suspends weekend matches after abuse allegations expose
FILE PHOTO: Former North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley before a past NWSL game. /Getty Images

FILE PHOTO: Former North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley before a past NWSL game. /Getty Images

The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) has postponed this weekend's games following the fallout from the sacking of English head coach Paul Riley by North Carolina Courage due to allegations of sexual misconduct.

A statement by NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird on Friday said the decision had been taken to give everyone "some space to reflect" in light of an "incredibly traumatic" period for players and staff.

"Business as usual isn't our concern right now. Our entire league has a great deal of healing to do, and our players deserve so much better. We have made this decision in collaboration with our players association and this pause will be the first step as we collectively work to transform the culture of this league, something that is long overdue," Baird said.

According to an investigation by sports website The Athletic, a report detailed accusations by former players Riley had coached since 2010.

Riley allegedly made inappropriate comments about players' weight and sexual orientations. The accusations span several teams and leagues over a decade. Riley has denied the accusations.

Following the publication of the report, North Carolina Courage on Thursday fired Riley and threw its support behind the players who came forward.

The NWSL players' association also called for an investigation into how Riley, who has coached women's teams since 2006, was employed in the league again in 2016, just months after complaints were first levelled against him.

Riley, though, is not the first NWSL coach to be sacked for sexual misconduct or abusive behavior this season.

Richie Burke of the Washington Spirit was fired last month over allegations of verbal and emotional abuse.

(With input from agencies)

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