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Washington Spirit former head coach Richie Burke fired after league investigation

Burke was also banned from working with any other players in the league.

WASHINGTON — Washington Spirit head coach Richie Burke has been fired after the National Women's Soccer League concluded its investigation into allegations of misconduct by members of the team. He is also banned from working with any other players in the league. 

The investigation comes after a report by the Washington Post was released last month citing a toxic environment under Burke's leadership with multiple allegations of verbal abuse and racist comments made by Burke, and directed at players. 

Burke had stepped down from his coaching position last month, and the Spirit had planned to keep him in the front office, but suspended him after the Post's initial report.

The NWSL determined that the Spirit and its ownership group will not be permitted to participate in League business.

Spirit has 14 days to respond, and the League could take further action against the club.

According to the Washington Post, the investigation found Spirit executives knew how Burke was allegedly treating players -- and didn't report him. The Club created a culture that stopped players and employees from speaking out, the report said.

Just this month, three female department heads left their positions with the team. There is also a public dispute within the ownership group as co-owner Y. Michele Kang is calling for controlling owner Steve Baldwin, to sell her the team. She wrote a letter to the team's investors in which she referenced the "toxic club culture" and promised reforms once she is in control. 

On top of all of this, The Spirit has also been dealing with a COVID outbreak that forced the team to forfeit 2 matches earlier this month.

The Spirit has not issued a statement on the League's decision.

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