Beth Mead has confirmed that England will join the USA Women’s national team in a show of solidarity after a report showing widespread sexual misconduct and emotional abuse in the US women’s game was released this week.

TEDDINGTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06: Beth Mead of England looks on as they are interviewed during an England Women Training Session & Press Conference at The Lensbury on October 06, 2022 in Teddington, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
TEDDINGTON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 06: Beth Mead of England looks on as they are interviewed during an England Women Training Session & Press Conference at The Lensbury on October 06, 2022 in Teddington, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, a report into sexual misconduct and emotional and verbal abuse within American women’s football was released to relative silence from those paid to comment on the sport.

The report found that the abuse was widespread and ‘systematic’, involving multiple players, coaches and teams.

“Our investigation has revealed a league in which abuse and misconduct – verbal and emotional abuse and sexual misconduct – had become systemic, spanning multiple teams, coaches, and victims,” the Sally Q. Yates’ report said.

“The verbal and emotional abuse players describe in the NWSL is not merely ‘tough’ coaching. And the players affected are not shrinking violets. They are among the best athletes in the world.”

Globally, players in the women’s game have spoke out to call the findings of the report ‘heartbreaking and deeply troubling.’ Others, such as Lindsay Horan, have tried to raise the alarm about football globally, rightly highlighting that this is not an issue that is confined to the US.

“It’s not just the NWSL, this is women’s football in general, it’s women in general, we have these problems all over the world, it’s a global systemic problem, so I don’t want that to be the end point,” Horan told the Telegraph.

“This investigation came forward and we’re thankful, but it took way too long. I sit here, and I’m like, it’s not done, this is all over the world and being a player in Europe right now, I know that.”

Sexual abuse problem not unique to US, say players The Daily Telegraph6 Oct 2022By Molly Mcelwee and Tom Garry United States national team players have said the “systemic” sexual misconduct and abuse exposed in top-flight American women’s football this week was not the “end point”, but a problem that extended throughout the world – including European leagues.  An independent report into abuse allegations against several coaches in the National Women’s Soccer League found that the league, teams and US Soccer had all failed to adequately address evidence of abuse put to them by whistleblowers.  US players Lindsey Horan and Crystal Dunn, preparing for tomorrow’s match against England at Wembley, said they hoped there would be a similar global reckoning.  Horan has previously alleged that she experienced body-shaming and an unhealthy, sexist culture at Paris St-germain between 2012 and 2016, including under coach Farid Benstiti – who went on to manage NWSL side OL Reign. Now playing on loan at Lyon, Horan said that similar patterns of behaviour to those detailed in the NWSL report exist in Europe.  “It’s not just the NWSL, this is women’s football in general, it’s women in general, we have these problems all over the world, it’s a global systemic problem, so I don’t want that to be the end point,” Horan said. “This investigation came forward and we’re thankful, but it took way too long. I sit here, and I’m like, it’s not done, this is all over the world and being a player in Europe right now, I know that.”  Dunn, who played for Chelsea, said that she and her team-mates were struggling to “find pride” in wearing the US shirt and added: “I’d be lying if I said we’re doing well. It’s a huge moment for not just our domestic league, but leagues across the globe. What’s happening in the US is not just a US issue.  “Unfortunately, this is probably going on in multiple leagues. I do think change is on the horizon. This report coming out is going to allow a lot of accountability that hasn’t taken place. I am quite hopeful the healing phase can now take place.”  England defender Lucy Bronze said her team stood “in solidarity” with their opponents and, though she had never experienced it firsthand, acknowledged that sexual misconduct plagued women’s sport.  “We are fully behind these players. It’s quite upsetting to read the stories,” Bronze said.  “It’s sad, but women’s sport in general tends to have these issues. The new thing is that we’re finally fighting back.”
Daily Telegraph 6th October 2022

England’s women’s team take on the US at Wembley on Friday, and ahead of that game Beth Mead, recently crowned England Women’s Player of the Year, had this to say; “We’re in contact with the American team and some of the players.

“We’re working on something to show our support for them. Nothing has been finalised yet but we will be doing something.

“When I found out, I was sickened by the situation. It’s a worldwide problem but women need to be taken seriously. (I’m) very proud of the victims that actually stood up and said it.

“People need to start doing better, the US governing body needs to be doing better, worldwide we need to be doing better.”

We certainly do.

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