Spirit fans launch protest amid abuse claims


A Washington Spirit fan group have launched a protest and called for club owner Steve Baldwin to step down after concerns over player welfare.

Richie Burke was suspended as head coach in August following an investigation into allegations of verbal and emotional abuse towards players.

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A fan group said in a statement on social media, they will “limit game day activities” including the “flying of flags, chants and playing of drums” until new owners ensure the standard of player and staff welfare rises.

The statement read: “We no longer have confidence that Steve Baldwin can effectively lead the Washington Spirit. Until new ownership publicly puts forth a plan that ensures a safe environment for players and staff, and commits to a true vetting process for hiring qualified employees at the highest levels, we will limit our game day activities.

“This includes the flying of flags, chants and playing of drums in the supporters section.

“To the players of the Washington Spirit: This is not a decision that we have come to lightly. We understand that our actions will have an immediate and adverse effect on the atmosphere we help to create in the stadium on game day. However, we cannot continue to operate as if there is not a cancer eating away at the heart and soul of this club that you play for and that we love.

“We have seen enough. It is past time. Sell the team, Steve.”

The claims were first detailed in a report by The Washington Post, and an investigation was launched by club following the report and the suspension.

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