Football Australia (FA) today announced an independent complaint management process after recently retired international striker Lisa De Vanna said she had been a victim of sexual assault, harassment and bullying during her career.
De Vanna made her first allegations in response to a Twitter post from Megan Rapinoe in which the US international opened up on allegations of wrongdoing against former North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley.
36-year-old De Vanna, who played 150 times for her country over two decades, replied that she had witnessed women in the game abusing younger players and organizations protecting the perpetrators.
“There has to be consequences. There has to be accountability,” she said in an interview with News Ltd. media.
“I’ve seen cultural problems at all levels over the years – men and women – and girls who get through have to be brave, and the girls who have gone through this have to be brave too, knowing that they are not alone are.
“Was I sexually harassed? Yes. Have I been bullied? Yes. Marginalized? Yes. Have I seen things that made me uncomfortable?
The FA said in a statement it would investigate all abuse allegations and Sport Integrity Australia (SIA) would oversee an independent complaint process for former players and staff.
“We are committed to safe, inclusive environments for all footballers and employees,” said FA chief James Johnson.
“In our sport there is no place for abuse, harassment or bullying and it is up to organizations like ours to take the lead when it comes to dealing directly with these issues.”
The FA said it recently reached out to SIA, a government agency that oversees doping and corruption in sport, to discuss an independent complaint process, and Johnson welcomed the “timely” announcement.
FA said in a statement Tuesday that she met with De Vanna to discuss her “complaints” but some of the allegations she made in the media had not been made at the time.
Another recently retired Australian professional, Rhali Dobson, told New Ltd that she had been the target of predatory behavior by older female players.
Professional Footballers Australia players’ union expressed its deep concern over the allegations made by the former players.
“All players should feel safe, involved and respected,” it said.