Details of Sport Integrity Australia’s probe of women’s football to be released


The details of Sport Integrity Australia’s investigation into allegations of misconduct in women’s football are set to be revealed in coming days.

The investigation was prompted by former player Lisa De Vanna’s allegations of historical indecent assault, grooming, bullying and sexual harassment during her career spanning two decades.

Football Australia says further detail on the independent investigation by Sports Integrity Australia will be announced this week.

“There will be an announcement in the next couple of days, where the conduct that former players have talked about will be addressed through an independent channel, not by Football Australia, by Sports Integrity Australia,” Football Australia chief executive James Johnson said.

The Matildas are under intense scrutiny, ahead of the national team’s two-match series against Brazil in Sydney this Saturday and next Tuesday.

Football Australia has said that if allegations were proved, players involved would be sanctioned.

Another Matildas player, Rhali Dobson, also claimed she had been a target of predatory behaviour during her career.

The Matildas playing group released a joint statement welcoming the review, but defended the teams “strong professional, inclusive and supportive culture”.

“We will work with Football Australia, the PFA and Sport Integrity Australia to ensure that all current and future players feel comfortable, safe and able to report instances of inappropriate behaviour, in a timely manner,” the statement read.

Fifteen current members of the women’s national team also put forward individual statements, including superstar and captain Sam Kerr.

“I have been a part of this team for 12 amazing years, from 15 years old to now,” the captain said in personal comments.

“Throughout my career, the Matildas have been a safe haven for me and allowed me to grow into the player and person I am today.”

A separate investigation into the Matildas culture began in 2019, where a need for change was recommended.

“We need to differentiate between general cultural issues, culture is not something you can turn off and on it needs to be continually developed and we need to differentiate that from that behaviour, those allegations,” Johnson said.

“I meet regularly with the Matildas as a part of the independent inquiry into culture in 2019, I have already met with them about what is happening now.”

The return of the Matildas on home soil has been overshadowed by the investigation.

“February (2020) was the last time that the Matildas played at home so we are absolutely delighted to bring them home, they are at their peak, playing at the best clubs in the world, their best football in front of their home fans against a quality opposition in Brazil.”

The Matildas set their attendance record at the same venue in Parramatta in November 2019 when they beat Chile 2-1 in front of 20,029 fans.

With Covid-19 restrictions eased in New South Wales, allowing a 75 per cent capacity crowd of up to 22,500, that record could be smashed again this week.

“Ticket sales are going very well, when it was 5,000 they sold within hours, so for Saturday night’s match we think we’ll be very close to breaking the record.”


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