Football Australia investigates after Matilda’s great Lisa De Vanna makes abuse allegations | Soccer Australia
Football Australia has urged players to come forward and file formal complaints after historical abuse allegations were made by Matilda’s great Lisa De Vanna.
De Vanna, Australia’s second most productive goalscorer, claims she has faced sexual harassment, indecent assault, grooming and bullying of older players throughout her career.
Speaking to News Corp, De Vanna said that during her 20 year career she has seen cultural problems at all levels and that there must be “consequences” and “accountability” for behavior.
Another player, Rhali Dobson, also claims she was a target of predatory behavior.
In a statement released late Tuesday, FA said it has a “zero tolerance approach to any behavior that violates the standards and values expected of those involved in the game”.
FA said it met with De Vanna and was aware of her “complaints”, but the specific allegations published on Tuesday were not made during that meeting.
The game’s board of directors asked De Vanna and others to file formal complaints, after which the matter could be thoroughly investigated.
“We don’t know what steps, if any, our predecessor Soccer Australia took in 2001,” said FA. “In the event that Lisa decides to file a formal complaint through the appropriate channels, we are able to investigate and act accordingly.
“The same process is open to Rhali Dobson and other former players and staff to make formal claims.”
Meanwhile, in a joint initiative with Sport Integrity Australia, the FA is trying to create an additional process to investigate allegations of historical abuse made independently of previous players or employees. Details on this initiative have yet to be finalized.
Professional Footballers Australia’s two board chairmen, Beau Busch and Kathryn Gill, said they were “deeply concerned” about the players’ allegations.
“All players should feel safe, involved and respected,” said a statement. “It is crucial that the sport offers a safe and inclusive workplace and, above all, that the players are supported in registering.
“The PFA has reaffirmed all support and reporting mechanisms available to players and will continue to ensure that all current and former players have access to the full resources of the PFA.”
It comes after allegations of abusive behavior in the US National Women’s Soccer League and anger over the league’s reaction, leading to the departure of one of the league’s most successful coaches, Paul Riley, and NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird.
De Vanna responded to a comment by US star Megan Rapinoe on social media, saying she had a witness: “Women protect women who abuse women. Players protecting older players who abuse younger players. Organizations protecting “coaches / players” who abuse players. Abuse is abuse. Bad behavior is bad on all levels! “
De Vanna made 150 appearances for Australia, scoring 47 goals. Her international career ended last month when she officially retired after being overlooked by new Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson.