Fallout continues over how the Portland Thorns handled sexual harassment and coercion allegations against a coach six years ago. Now, Portland has lost the right to host this year’s National Women Soccer League championship.
The NWSL announced Wednesday that it is moving the Nov. 20 match to Louisville. The move was made at the request of NWSL players.
The game had been scheduled for Portland’s Providence Park, a boon for area businesses and soccer fans.
But last month, The Athletic reported sexual harassment and coercion allegations against Paul Riley, including during his time as head coach of the Thorns for two seasons.
Thorns management is now facing significant scrutiny from fans over how the team handled the situation. The club investigated the players’ reports and opted not to renew Riley’s contract, but did not make either the allegations or the investigation public. Riley went on to coach another team, where he was also accused of abusing his authority.
Team general manager Gavin Wilkinson has been placed on administrative leave during an investigation, but some of the team’s most vocal supporters have said that is not enough. Supporter groups want him fired, and they’ve urged fans to not to buy team gear or concessions.
In a statement Wednesday, the Thorns supported the NWSL Players Association’s call to move the championship game. The team statement notes that Portland was the only franchise to bid to host the game, which was scheduled for a 9 a.m. start time, in part so it could be televised on CBS.