Players contracted to the Australia women’s football team have issued a statement defending the culture in the current Matildas set-up, following serious claims made by former international striker Lisa de Vanna.
The forward last week alleged that she had been a victim of sexual assault, harassment, bullying and grooming during her career, and said she had witnessed women abusing younger female players. It has prompted an investigation from Football Australia.
In response, 15 players including Chelsea’s Sam Kerr have spoken positively about their own experiences, while also expressing concern for de Vanna.
Tokyo 2020
The 88 seconds that cost Team GB
30/07/2021 AT 14:46
“We acknowledge the seriousness of Lisa’s allegations about the past and we empathise with her for not feeling like she could come forth earlier,” said the statement.
“We all – from our most capped players to our most recently capped - would like to reassure to our fans, family and friends that today we have a strong professional, inclusive and supportive culture that does not condone any of the behaviour mentioned within the numerous media articles about historical incidents.
“Our strong leadership ensures our cultural norms are appropriate for today’s professional sporting environment.
“As a group, we represent the values reflective of Australia and that includes acceptance and inclusivity, regardless of sexuality, ethnicity or culture. It was disappointing to observe conversations inferring the group is not accepting of differences, especially given the diversity that exists within our current leadership group on all those fronts, let alone across the broader team.
“We would also like to reiterate the professional standards that surround the current team today. Women’s football has dramatically grown in recent years and so has our professionalism and standards.”
The allegations come at a time where a number of players in America’s National Women’s Soccer League have accused North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley of sexual coercion. He has denied the claims.
Tokyo 2020 (W)
Great Britain suffer extra-time loss to Australia - Olympic quarter-final as it happened
30/07/2021 AT 08:08
Women's World Cup
Norway defeat Australia on penalties to reach last eight
22/06/2019 AT 15:38