SYDNEY (Reuters) – Football Australia pledged on Wednesday (October 6th) to investigate historic allegations of sexual harassment in women’s football raised by former members of the national team.
Star striker Lisa De Vanna, who won 150 caps for Australia before retiring last month, said she was regularly subjected to predatory behavior early in her career.
His allegations come as allegations of sexual misconduct and abusive behavior rock the top professional women’s football league in the United States, as the American Football Federation has appointed a former federal prosecutor to investigate.
“Was I sexually harassed? Yes. Was I bullied? Yes. Ostracized? Yes. Did I see things that made me uncomfortable? Yes,” De Vanna said, 36 years old, at the Daily Telegraph in Sydney.
“In any sport organization and in any environment, grooming, hunting and unprofessional behavior make me sick.”
De Vanna said the incidents included proposals in locker room showers and teammates pulling her down and “shoving her dry.”
She said she was a teenager at the time and didn’t know how to handle the situation, but broke her silence because “it always happens on all levels and it’s time to talk” .
Former De Vanna manager Rose Garofano said she told then-governing body Soccer Australia and was assured the issues would be dealt with internally.
Another former player, Rhali Dobson, said she was also harassed in her youth.
“A lot of it is pushed under the rug. It was a grooming case when I first arrived on the scene,” she told The Telegraph.
Football Australia, which took over the management of the sport in 2005, said it was not aware of the specific allegations made by De Vanna, but would investigate if she and Dobson made formal complaints.
“Australian football takes a zero tolerance approach to any conduct that violates the standards and values expected of those involved in the game,” he said.
The governing body said it was working with Sport Integrity Australia to set up an independent investigation into the larger issue of the historic abuse allegations.
“We have (…) engaged with Sport Integrity Australia to develop an additional process to independently investigate allegations of a historical nature concerning former players and staff – such as Lisa and Rhali,” he said. -he declares.
“We will announce the joint initiative with SIA once the details are finalized.”
Football Australia’s decision comes after independent reviews found evidence of a toxic culture and abuse in women’s gymnastics and hockey.
Swimming Australia this year set up an independent panel to investigate issues related to women and girls, while admitting “unacceptable behavior” going back decades.