A new report from the Washington Post confirms what many suspected, but which couldn’t be previously confirmed, about the abrupt departure of former OL Reign head coach Farid Benstiti in July. The report states he was asked to resign after allegedly making “inappropriate comments to players regarding their fitness and nutrition”. These remarks mirror ones Portland Thorns and USWNT midfielder Lindsey Horan said he made about her while they were together at Paris Saint Germain.
OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore confirmed this news and told the Post he requested Benstiti’s resignation after he was told of the inappropriate remarks and the team investigated; simultaneously, a player reported the remarks to the league, which launched their own formal investigation. The results of neither investigation have been made public and even their existence was a secret until this story. At the time of Benstiti’s departure, no indication was made of untoward behavior and Predmore went so far as to thank him for his contributions to the club.
Benstiti’s departure was the first of what has turned into an avalanche of NWSL coach and front office departures for serious misconduct in the past three months. Racing Louisville head coach Christy Holly was fired for cause for reasons that have not yet been made public, Gotham FC general manager Alyse LaHue was fired for violations of the league’s Anti-harassment policy, Washington Spirit coach Richie Burke was fired for serious allegations of misconduct (after the team initially announced he would be stepping down for health reasons, but remain in a front office role), and most recently, North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley was fired and had his coaching license suspended after reports emerged that he had engaged in sexual coercion with players over many years.
Predmore is scheduled to speak with media Friday morning. He previously told Ride of the Valkyries that the decision to hire Benstiti, even in the face of prior allegations of misconduct, was his and his alone.