OL Reign coach Farid Benstiti reportedly resigned over abuse allegations


Following a league-wide reckoning yesterday over sexual coercion and emotional abuse allegations against former North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley, more complaints are coming to light — this time about former OL Reign head coach Farid Benstiti.

According to Molly Hensley-Clancy in The Washington Post, Benstiti was also the subject “of a formal complaint of verbal abuse made by a player.” Allegedly, the French coach made inappropriate comments regarding players’ fitness and nutrition.

Benstiti resigned from his position in July. At the time, OL Reign’s CEO Bill Predmore thanked the coach for his “contributions” before saying that the club “wished him the best in all his future endeavors.”

According to the Post, a statement given to the paper by Predmore said he had requested the resignation after being told of the inappropriate comments by the player. The team investigated the allegation and found out about the formal complaint to the NWSL only after requesting Benstiti’s resignation.

Predmore said the team wasn’t aware of “any specific issues or concerns” upon Benstiti’s hiring. Previously, however, USWNT player Lindsey Horan had publicly spoken out about her experiences of being shamed for her weight by Benstiti when she played for him at Paris Saint-Germain.

Once the team learned of Horan’s allegations, Predmore told the Post, the team instituted a “zero-tolerance” policy with the coach.

Benstiti is the fourth coach this year to depart an NWSL club following allegations of improprieties with players.

Laura Harvey was welcomed back to OL Reign in Benstiti’s place after managing the club from 2013 to 2017.

In a Friday call with reporters, Predmore took full responsibility for the hiring of Benstiti.

“The decision to hire Farid was mine and I accept responsibility for that and I think in hindsight I got it wrong,” he said. “How people wish to hold me accountable, I don’t think it’s for me to decide.”

Additionally, Predmore claimed some responsibility for the allegations against Paul Riley, saying that as an owner in the league he is “responsible for the conduct of the league.”

“Ultimately what we allowed to happen, it wasn’t okay,” he said. “And it needed to be better, immediately, so I think that’s it. We need to do better.”