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Vera Pauw Says She Was Raped And Sexually Assaulted During Playing Career

Vera Pauw Says She Was Raped And Sexually Assaulted During Playing Career
By Donny Mahoney Updated

Ireland women's national team coach Vera Pauw has released an extraordinary statement this evening, saying she was raped and sexually assaulted during her footballing career in the Netherlands.

Pauw says that she was raped by a "prominent football official" in Holland thirty-five years ago. She also says she was the victim of sexual assault by two other men who were "employed within Dutch football".

Pauw was capped 84 times for the Netherlands between 1983 - 1998 and also managed the Dutch women's team from 2004-2010.

Vera Pauw's statement

Her statement begins: "For 35 years, I have kept a secret from the world." Vera Pauw says had not told friends, family and colleagues about the incidents.

She says that she made five requests for the Dutch FA to investigate her allegations, and after "failing to get a satisfactory response", has now reported the incident to Dutch police.

The Dutch FA released a statement on Saturday morning in response to the revelations, in which they acknowledged their failure to act on Pauw's requests to them to investigate her allegations:

At the KNVB we are very shocked by the experiences from a not recent past that Vera Pauw told us about in a conversation last year.

The KNVB should have approached a number of issues differently. For example, in the past Vera was unfortunately confronted with a number of (estimation) errors and harmful comments from (former) KNVB employees. Verinorm has also found through the investigation that there was no plan or policy of the KNVB behind this.

The KNVB was not sufficiently alert to Vera's first signals in 2011 about sexually transgressive behaviour. The report states that these signals were veiled, but that should not be an excuse if such a theme comes up in any way. The KNVB did not react sharply enough to this at the time.

We acknowledge the errors identified in the report and should not have happened to her. It is unacceptable that Vera did not experience the safe working environment to which she was entitled at the time.

In personal contact with Vera, we have experienced that this situation unfortunately has a lot of impact on her and we are sorry for that.

Pauw thanked her staff, the Irish women's team, the FAI and its board for their support.

"I have always felt safe and continue to feel and supported in Ireland. I cannot tell you how good that feels," she writes.

You can read all of Vera Pauw's statement here.

The FAI released a statement this evening, assuring Pauw that she has the organisation's ''ongoing full support."

Vera has engaged on this matter with the Association’s senior leaders for some time now and the FAI has offered her all the backing she may need on a personal and professional level.

The FAI is absolutely aware of the impact these revelations will have on Vera’s well-being and have assured her of the ongoing full support of the FAI Board and all her colleagues at the Association.

The FAI will be making no further comment on this matter and asks the media to respect Vera’s privacy at this very difficult time.

Pauw was appointed Ireland manager in 2019. She has lead Ireland to the brink of qualification for the World Cup playoffs and oversaw Ireland's 9-0 win over Georgia on Monday.

Article updated at 14:00 on Saturday July 2nd

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