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Craig Harrington suspended three games

The América Femenil manager gets a three match ban for verbally abusing Rayadas players

Craig Harrington, Head Coach of America reacts during a match between Queretaro and America as part of Liga MX Femenil Torneo Apertura 2021 at La Corregidora Stadium on July 30, 2021 in Queretaro, Mexico. Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Less than 24 hours after Club América Femenil manager Craig Harrington was shown a red card during the match against Rayadas, the FMF has issued a three match suspension for Harrington as the incident itself has come into clearer focus.

During her press conference last night, Rayadas manager Eva Espejo accused Harrington of verbally abusing Rayadas players. This was backed up with video of the Rayadas players pointing toward Harrington and some walking toward him before referee Lizzet García shows him the red card. He argues somewhat with AR Carolina Briones before walking off.

Media agency Ellas de Deporte posted this series of photos, the first of which shows Harrington yelling toward Monterrey forward Aylin Avilés, who is being restrained by a teammate and Briones.

The first image of Harrington yelling at a player half his age is bad enough, especially when you consider the imbalance of power that is on display. But then video surfaced that shows Briones telling Harrington that she heard what he said to Aviléz and repeating it back to him, exhibiting both courage and professionalism.

Club América then came out with a statement that they would abide by the league’s punishment, blaming it on it being an English expression and inferring that it was somehow better in English than in Spanish. They also said in the statement that Harrington had promised not to repeat the action and would only face further sanctions internally.

Last night’s game was a good game between two very good teams, and it should be lost on no one that the focus has instead been forcibly shifted toward a coach with a documented history of abusive behavior. Harrington’s actions were unsporting, unprofessional, and have hurt Liga MX Femenil as a whole, as media outside of México are now focusing on this saga at a time when the league was getting good attention drawn to it.

América’s response has been equally disappointing, with the statement released by the club deflecting responsibility from Harrington and expecting people to take seriously someone with a history of abuse promising not to do it again.