Football Australia to investigate abuse allegations by Matildas players


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

36-year-old ex-Matildas striker Lisa de Vanna told  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.

However, the governing body said it would set up an independent investigation into any formal complaints by 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, following Football Australia’s successful bid for it last year.

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

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.”

Accounts of these incidents were backed up by a former teammate, Elissia Carnavas, and her ex-manager, Rose Garofano, reported the newspaper.

Rhali Dobson, another former player, 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 added.

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

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

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