Football Australia to investigate abuse allegations by Matildas players

  • Posted By: Studio
  • Sports
  • Updated: 5 December, 2021 13:02
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Veteran Matildas striker Lisa De Vanna has spoken out about the abuse she's witnessed in the sport

Former Australian women's football players have alleged a culture of sexual harassment within the sport.

Ex-Matildas striker Lisa de Vanna, 36, told a newspaper she had been subjected to predatory behaviour and propositions from teammates when she was a teenager.

Football Australia said it was not previously aware of the allegations.

But the governing body said it would set up an independent investigation into any formal complaints by Ms De Vanna and other players.

"Australian football takes a zero-tolerance approach to any conduct which breaches the standards and values expected of people involved in the game," it said in a statement.

Australia and New Zealand will host the 2023 Women's World Cup, after Football Australia successfully bid for it last year.

Football Australia has administered the women's game in Australia since 2005.

'It's time to speak up'

De Vanna played more than 150 matches for Australia before retiring last month.

She told Sydney's Daily Telegraph that one incident involved her Young Matildas teammates "dry humping" her.

"Have I been sexually harassed? Yes. Have I been bullied? Yes? Ostracised? Yes. Have I seen things that have made me uncomfortable? Yes," she said.

"In any sporting organisation and in any environment, grooming, preying and unprofessional behaviour makes me sick."

Her accounts were backed up by a former teammate, Elissia Carnavas, and her ex-manager, Rose Garofano, the newspaper reported.

Another former player, Rhali Dobson, said she had also experienced "grooming when I first came onto the scene".

"It's a world that's very much still going, in the world at the top levels, and until you start addressing this, nothing is going to change," she told the newspaper.

The Australian allegations come as the US Soccer Federation also investigates sexual misconduct and harassment allegations.

On Saturday, De Vanna responded to a tweet from US player Megan Rapinoe which related to accusations against a coach in America.

De Vanna wrote she had witnessed people protecting alleged abusers.

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Recent investigations into women's gymnastics and hockey have also found evidence of bullying and abuse.

Swimming Australia has also set up an investigation after a female swimmer quit the national team ahead of the Olympics, citing "misogynistic perverts" in the sport.

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