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Football Australia to investigate treatment of female players after legend's sexual abuse claims

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5th October, 2021
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Football Australia has announced an independent investigation into the treatment of female footballers after Matildas legend Lisa De Vanna made allegations of sexual abuse suffered throughout her career.

De Vanna has said she sexual harassment, indecent assault, grooming and bullying from senior players stretching back to 2001 when she was a member of the Young Matildas.

“I was pulled down from behind and dry-humped by a few of my teammates. I fought my way off the floor kicking and screaming. They thought it was funny,” De Vanna told News Corp.

“I was just a young kid from Perth, I didn’t know any different. I lost my shit and wanted to punch them.”

De Vanna also detailed incidents of sexual harassment she said occurred in a shower and involved unwanted advances from other players.

Football Australia said it had received a direct complaint from De Vanna but that some of her concerns from the News Corp interview were not covered.

“While it is not appropriate to discuss individual cases, we have met with Lisa De Vanna and heard her grievances, and can confirm that the specific allegations made public were not raised with us in that meeting,” a Football Australia statement read.

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“We have no knowledge of what steps, if any our predecessor organisation, Soccer Australia, undertook in 2001. In the event that Lisa chooses to lodge a formal complaint through the appropriate channels, we will be in a position to investigate and, if appropriate, act accordingly.

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

“To that end, we encourage anyone to bring forward their concerns through Football Australia’s formal complaints process under the Member Protection Framework, with the knowledge that any such matter will be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.

“Over and above Football Australia’s formal complaints handling protocols, we have also been engaging with Sport Integrity Australia (SIA) to develop an additional process for independently investigating allegations of a historical nature as they relate to former players and staff.”

De Vanna made 150 appearances for Australia, scoring 47 goals and played in four World Cups.

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