Chelsea: Captain Magdalena Eriksson 'devastated' by NWSL sexual misconduct allegations

Magda Eriksson

Chelsea captain Magdalena Eriksson says she and her teammates were “devastated” to hear about the allegations of sexual misconduct in the National Women’s Super League last week.

Former North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley was sacked by the club last Thursday after an investigation conducted by The Athletic was made public.

More than a dozen players coached by Riley went on the record to detail the English-born coach’s pattern of behaviour.

Sinead Farrelly, who used to play for Riley at the Portland Thorns, accused her former coach of coercing her into having sex with him, while also claiming he forced her to kiss teammate Mana Shim at his apartment.

Riley has denied the accusations, but FIFA has opened a preliminary investigation into the matter. The NWSL also revealed it was launching a number of “critical investigative and reform initiatives to protect players and staff.”



Speaking at a press conference ahead of Chelsea’s Women’s Champions League game against Wolfsburg, Eriksson said: “Of course we as players stay updated on what is happening in the women’s football world and we are devastated to hear about these events that have happened in the NWSL.

“We just discussed it and talked about how horrifying it is. It’s good that players are brave enough now to step forward and for these events to come to light.”

She added: “I think I am one of the lucky ones, because I have been in environments in Sweden and here at Chelsea where we are protected.

“I feel very safe, and I haven’t experienced any of these events myself, or anyone close to me. I know it’s out there, and I know it’s a big problem, also a societal problem.

“Here at Chelsea, we have a good system in place, and we are protected well.

“I think there has to be a good system in place for when players speak up. When something has happened to them, they need to have a channel to go to and to be heard.”

Magda Eriksson

The Swedish defender’s comments come after Chelsea head coach Emma Hayes stressed that football needs to create a safe space for women.

“I think in general, we talk about improving things so that women feel safe and not under threat on a daily basis,” she said.

“I think we have to talk about that happening in our daily lives, not just in a football environment. I along with many others hope we continue to try to provide a safe space, not just in our environment but in society.

“I don’t know the policies, the background in terms of where we might be ahead or behind the NWSL. What I know is as a club we have safeguarding people in place, we’ve got welfare people in place.

“For me, you can’t just talk about anything in isolation – in society we’ve got a huge problem in and around the way we treat women and I can’t just limit what I speak about to football.”

Chelsea, who knocked Wolfsburg out of the Champions League last year –– face the German side at home tonight in their first European group game this year.

The game will be available to watch for UK viewers live on the DAZN YouTube channel.

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