Football Australia has urged players to come forward and file formal complaints after historic allegations of abuse were made by Matilda’s tall Lisa De Vanna.
De Vanna, Australia’s most prolific second scorer, alleges she has been the victim of sexual harassment, indecent assault, grooming and intimidation from senior players throughout her career.
Speaking to News Corp, De Vanna said she had seen cultural issues at all levels during her 20-year career and that there had to be “consequences” and “responsibility” for this behavior.
Another player, Rhali Dobson, also claims that she has been the target of predatory behavior.
In a statement issued Tuesday evening, the FA said it was taking a “zero tolerance approach to any conduct that violates the standards and values ââexpected of those involved in gambling.”
The FA said it had met De Vanna and was aware of his “grievances”, but the specific allegations made public on Tuesday were not raised at that meeting.
The game’s governing body has urged De Vanna and others to file formal complaints, in which case it said the case could be fully investigated.
“We don’t know what action, if any, our predecessor organization, Soccer Australia, took in 2001,” the FA said. âIn the event that Lisa chooses to lodge a formal complaint through the appropriate channels, we will be able to investigate and, if necessary, act on it.
“The same process is open to Rhali Dobson and other former players and staff to formally submit any claims.”
Meanwhile, the FA is looking to create an additional process to independently investigate historical abuse allegations made by former players or staff as part of a joint initiative with Sport Integrity Australia. Details of this initiative have yet to be finalized.
Australian professional footballer co-general managers Beau Busch and Kathryn Gill said they were “deeply concerned” by the players’ allegations.
“All players should feel safe, included and respected,” said a statement. âIt is essential that sport provides a safe and inclusive workplace and, above all, that players are supported to come forward.
âThe PFA has reaffirmed all support and reporting mechanisms available to players and will continue to ensure that all PFA resources are available to all current and former players. “
It comes after allegations of abusive behavior within the National Women’s Soccer League in the United States and anger over the league’s response emerged, 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 social media comment from American star Megan Rapinoe, saying she had witnessed: âWomen protecting women who abuse women. Players protecting senior players who abuse younger players. Organizations protecting “coaches / players” who abuse players. Abuse is abuse. Bad behavior is bad at 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.