Utah Royals FC head coach Craig Harrington was placed on a leave of absence by the organization this week. The club provided no additional details and declined to comment further. Amy LePeilbet served as interim head coach of the Royals in their 3-0 loss to Portland Thorns FC on Sunday.
Harrington’s leave of absence comes just weeks after reports that Dell Loy Hansen — owner of the Royals, MLS’ Real Salt Lake and USL’s Real Monarchs — has a history of racist behavior. Hansen agreed to sell all of his teams and related real estate assets, including Rio Tinto Stadium. That news led to widespread calls for changes to the culture of the organization. Chief business officer Andy Carroll was placed on a leave of absence.
Assistant coach Louis Lancaster was also placed on a leave of absence by the club.
Speaking with media after Sunday’s game, Utah Royals captain Amy Rodriguez said she was instructed to not discuss the staff. LePeilbet said postgame that the change to insert her as interim coach “happened pretty fast.” Sources told The Equalizer’s Dan Lauletta that this was not a last-minute-decision from the club.
According to sources, this was not a last-minute decision by the Royals. It has been known since at least yesterday that LePeilbet was coaching today#NWSL
— Dan Lauletta (@TheDanLauletta) September 20, 2020
Royals players posted statements to their social media accounts on Sunday which began with the message, “We’ve had enough.” The same statement was posted by several Royals players two hours before the match and many of those posts on Twitter were retweeted by Royals general manager Stephanie Lee.
— Nicole Barnhart (@nbarnhart) September 20, 2020
— Tziarra King (@tziarra) September 20, 2020
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