A scrutiny of the ‘toxic culture’ in Australian football could result in a CRIMINAL investigation as the submissions are forwarded to law enforcement
- Sports Integrity Australia has launched an investigation following Lisa De Vanna’s claims
- She claimed Football Australia never investigated cases of alleged abuse
- The former Matildas star claimed players have been bullied and slandered in public
- Several players have reportedly been left with eating disorders
A scrutiny of the allegedly toxic culture in Australian football could lead to a criminal investigation after three separate submissions were made to law enforcement.
The review, conducted by Sports Integrity Australia (SIA), was launched after former Matildas star Lisa De Vanna went public with allegations of abuse within the sport in October last year.
De Vanna, who has 150 caps for the Matildas, claimed Football Australia failed to properly investigate a number of incidents that left players with eating disorders and resulted in others injuring themselves.
Lisa De Vanna rocked Australian football with bombastic claims last year
She also claimed that players were subjected to indecent assault, sexual harassment, bullying, fat-shaming and grooming.
The bombing allegations sparked an angry backlash against Football Australia and led to an independent review by SIA.
The body has now opened inquiries into two specific complaints it has examined and has made a number of recommendations to deal with some of the other allegations it has examined but over which it has no authority.
“Although we have received a number of submissions that were out of scope, Sport Integrity Australia assessed each submission and assisted those complaints that were submitted in linking them to alternative options or, where possible, taking them to the appropriate body handling the complaint could edit,” SIA chief executive David Sharpe said.
The alleged claims sparked an independent review by Sports Integrity Australia
“Each person who speaks up helps us understand what’s happening in their sport and where and on what issues we need to focus our educational and policy resources to create a stronger and safer environment in the future.”
In its report, the SIA said it had heard 27 separate complaints relating to a variety of offenses ranging from alleged abuse, bullying, harassment, unlawful discrimination, victimization and defamation.
The complaints also mentioned allegations of sexual misconduct, child abuse, child grooming and endangering a child’s safety.
A third of the complaints came from people directly affected, 18 complaints came from witnesses.
The panel heard from people who had reported a number of cases of alleged misconduct from the grassroots to the upper echelons of Australian football
SIA said 25 of the complaints received were “out of scope”, referring to the fact that the alleged conduct either did not occur at the national level or was not prohibited. However, it noted that these complaints were still subject to investigation and could lead to criminal investigations.
“Three of the 25 out-of-scope submissions were forwarded to law enforcement because they contained information that could warrant a criminal investigation,” it said.
Football Australia said it would continue to “fully support” the independent review.
“Football Australia remains committed to the process and policies it proactively initiated in October 2021,” it said.