Manchester United manager Marc Skinner has acknowledged that Britain is not immune to abuse in women’s football and has pledged to help protect women players in English football.
Last week US Soccer said it would implement reforms without delay after an independent investigation found abuse and misconduct had “become systemic” in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
That document, commonly referred to as the Yates Report after the woman who led the investigation – attorney and former Assistant Attorney General Sally Yates – has led to a series of resignations and contract terminations in the wake of his release.
Skinner, who led Orlando Pride in the NWSL from 2019-2021, said: “We have to keep changing, adapting, evolving and making sure nobody goes through something like this.
“We cannot allow any player or staff involved in a workplace to really go through this. So I think at Manchester United we will continue to make sure that the player is at the heart of everything we do and that we support him in the most appropriate way.
“I think of course we have to develop the coaching qualifications and the support around the coaching. There are clear rights and wrongs. We know that as human beings there are clear rights and wrongs.
“I’m lucky to have been a teacher and to have gone through the strict protocols and stuff there. So do I think this is a global thing and we can all improve? Yes absolutely.
“We have to keep improving but I think we can only start with ourselves and my responsibility to my players, to all the players who have been through things is to promise the right support and promise that we’re going to will do our part to change perceptions.
“I think it’s important that coaches and players continue to denounce misconduct and the like. I think that’s how we can continue to develop this conversation and not just see it as a moment.”
Skinner’s side host Brighton on Sunday – their first game since returning from international break. Many of the US players who played England in the NWSL’s friendly at Wembley last Friday had spoken openly about the turmoil the report uncovered and provoked.
Players from both teams wore symbolic teal armbands and held up a sign that read “Protect the Players.”
Striker Alessia Russo was not included in the Lionesses’ squad as she was injured and injured before this game and Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with the Czech Republic. The 23-year-old will not be available when United host the Seagulls this weekend, Skinner confirmed.
But he added: “She’s developing really, really well and I’ve been really impressed with her attitude towards it.
“She’s grown up massively and I’m so happy with her approach, how she’s performing in training, so it was a really nice thing to have her back on the field (on Wednesday) tomorrow with a smile on her face.”