Owner Arnim Whisler has begun process of selling his stake in Red Stars
In his statement, Whisler didn’t reveal plans for the organization’s future but there’s a hope that it will remain in Chicago.
Red Stars majority owner Arnim Whisler has begun the process of selling his stake in the National Women’s Soccer League club.
Monday morning he released a statement.
“We understand this is an important time for new leadership and it is with a heavy heart that we have made the decision to start the process of selling the team,” Whisler said. “Our group has engaged New York City investment bank Inner Circle Sports to facilitate the sale and our intent is to work with the league and the club to diligently find the right ownership that represents the diversity of Chicago and support a smooth transition of ownership.”
An email was sent from the Red Stars board chair Kim Vender Moffat to shareholders Thursday morning detailing Whisler’s intention to sell the club. In his statement, Whisler didn’t reveal plans for the organization's future but there’s a hope that it will remain in Chicago.
Whisler, the majority owner of the club for its duration in the NWSL, was urged to sell his stake by the board of directors and the entire Red Stars roster following the release of former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates’ report in October detailing systemic abuse that permeated the league. The report exposed Whisler’s knowledge of verbal and emotional abuse by former Red Stars coach Rory Dames dating back to 2014. Despite his knowledge of the abuse, Whisler allowed Dames to remain on staff until he resigned last November hours before the Washington Post published a report detailing claims of abuse.
The Post’s report and an explosive report by The Athletic contributed to the eventual investigation conducted by Yates which yielded a scathing over 150-page report detailing the failings of the league and specific owners to protect players.
Following Yates’ report, Whisler issued a statement announcing he would be stepping away from decision-making roles saying, ‘‘Our organization is committed to rebuilding trust and respect among players and staff towards our league and club, and I recognize that my current presence is a distraction.”
Portland Thorns owner, Merritt Paulson announced his intention to sell the club Thursday hours before news of Whisler’s plans were reported. The Thorns were another team exposed by investigative reporting over the last year and Yates’ report nearly two months ago.