The UK-based Women in Football group has called on the police and football association in The Netherlands to treat Vera Pauw’s complaints of rape and sexual assault seriously, after the Ireland women’s soccer team manager went public with her allegations this weekend.
Pauw (59), the former Dutch international player and manager, has been the Ireland manager since September 2019.
On Friday she released a statement on Twitter alleging she was raped in 1986 by a coach who was 14 years her senior and that she was later sexually assaulted by two other men involved in Dutch football.
Pauw has co-operated with a detailed report from the Dutch newspaper NRC into her allegations, which revealed details of a formal investigation carried out for the KNVB, the Dutch FA, over the course of the last year and which concluded this summer.
Having received the KNVB report, Pauw said she decided to make formal complaints about the rape and sexual assaults to the Dutch police last month.
Pauw, who was a pioneer in promoting women’s football in The Netherlands, said she was subject to “systemic sexual abuse, abuse of power, bullying, intimidation, isolation and framing” as a player and coach. She said she had tried to get the KNVB to investigate her complaints for years.
The coach who allegedly raped Pauw was interviewed by NRC and denied the allegation. He accepted they had an affair. While he was not named by NRC it is understood some Dutch media are considering identifying him publicly.
Danielle Pinedo, co-author of the article, told the Sunday Independent that NRC was hopeful other women with similar experiences in football would come forward.
A friend of Pauw’s told NRC she had to give Pauw a Valium pill after the alleged rape and that she was never the same afterwards.
The two alleged assaults involved football coaches who grabbed Pauw’s groin on separate occasions at work. She said there was a “grubby”, predominately male culture at the KNVB.
The Women in Football group said Pauw’s experiences “should be a wake-up call to governing bodies all over the world”.
“Women are no longer prepared to endure silence and inertia in the face of abuse. We expect action,” it tweeted yesterday.
The FAI issued a statement on Friday evening supporting Pauw.
The KNVB confirmed a report on Pauw’s complaints had been carried out by a consultancy firm, Verinorm, chosen by her.
The Irish team, who beat Georgia 9-0 away last week, were said to be shocked by their manager’s revelations.