10 October 2021

Statement from the current Matildas players regarding allegations of ‘toxic culture’

Following the recent allegations made by Lisa De Vanna about her time with the team from 2001-2019, the current contracted Matildas would like to make the following statement regarding today’s team culture and stance against this type of behaviour. “We acknowledge the seriousness of Lisa’s allegations about the past and we empathise with her for not feeling like she could come forth earlier. We will work with Football Australia, the PFA and Sport Integrity Australia to ensure that all current and future players feel comfortable, safe and able to report instances of inappropriate behaviour, in a timely manner.  There must also be a trusted process to deal with these complaints.

“We all – from our most capped players to our most recently capped – would like to reassure to our fans, family and friends that today we have a strong professional, inclusive and supportive culture that does not condone any of the behaviour mentioned within the numerous media articles about historical incidents.  Our strong leadership ensures our cultural norms are appropriate for today’s professional sporting environment.

“As a group, we represent the values reflective of Australia and that includes acceptance and inclusivity, regardless of sexuality, ethnicity or culture.  It was disappointing to observe conversations inferring the group is not accepting of differences, especially given the diversity that exists within our current leadership group on all those fronts, let alone across the broader team.  We would also like to re-iterate the professional standards that surround the current team today.  Women’s football has dramatically grown in recent years and so has our professionalism and standards.

“As a team, we have spoken at length about the allegations and are all hurt by what has occurred.  We hold this team close to our hearts and for many, this team has been a safe haven.  It has given us strength and purpose throughout our careers.  We are together like a family in this, from our oldest to our youngest player, and the difficulties we’ve faced in the last week have only made us stronger as a group. We stand supportive of athletes who are able to come forward and report instances of inappropriate behaviour in their respective environments, and therefore welcome an independent review into this matter.”

Personal Statements

“I am in full support of this collective statement together with my teammates. The Matildas have been my second family and safe place for over a decade, and we, as a full inclusive team, will always stand for and with each other.” – Mackenzie Arnold

“I support the collective team statement. The current Matildas environment is one that allows individual players to strive for their personal best within the team setting.” – Ellie Carpenter

“The Matildas have always been a second family to me. I have spent more time with these players and these staff members than I have with my own family at times, and I have always felt at home and safe. I am proud to be part of this family and will always support and care for the people within it.” – Steph Catley, Matildas vice-captain

“From the moment I stepped into the Matildas environment as a 16-year-old, this has been my safe place and the professional environment has helped me to grow into the player and person I am today. I stand with my teammates / second family in full support of this collective statement.” – Caitlin Foord

“I play my best football when I’m in an environment that’s professional, fun and supportive. This team gives me all of that.” – Mary Fowler

“Being a part of the Matildas family is something I take immense pride in. I fully support our collective statement and stand by the strong, inclusive, safe and professional environment that I have experienced for the best part of a decade.” – Alanna Kennedy

“The Matildas are a large part of my identity.  I have dedicated a lot of my time to help grow the culture and professionalism of this team and it’s been a fantastic journey that we are all proud of.” – Elise Kellond-Knight

“I have been a part of this team for 12 amazing years, from 15 years old to now. Throughout my career the Matildas have been a safe haven for me and allowed me to grow into the player and person I am today. I count myself lucky to be a part of this amazing group of athletes and people.” – Sam Kerr, Matildas captain

“Since joining this team at the beginning of 2019, I have felt welcomed, valued and only experienced the utmost professional environment both on and off the field.” – Teagan Micah

“Being part of the Matildas has been the greatest honour and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this team.” – Clare Polkinghorne

“Throughout my involvement with the Matildas, I have found great comfort in the professional and safe working environment within this group. The Matildas are like my family, they have played a big part in shaping who I am, and I am so proud to be a part of this special team” – Hayley Raso

“For me, coming in at a young age during a major tournament, I have experienced nothing but acceptance and welcome and can honestly say the environment is one of the best I have been a part of.” – Karly Roestbakken

“I am in full support of the collective team statement. For 11 years I have been incredibly lucky to be part of such an amazing team, be surrounded by incredible athletes and even better people. The Matildas have always been more than just a team, they have been my safe space and my second family.  In those 11 years, this group has helped me grow and find myself as a footballer and as a person.  I am grateful to them for being a part of my journey and shaping who I am today.” – Emily van Egmond

“As a current and long-standing Matilda, I am in full support of the collective statement from the team and the professionalism which we have built over the years. I am proud of every moment that I get to stand with and for my teammates in the green and gold.” – Lydia Williams

“As an individual and as a current Matilda I am in full support of the collective statement made by the teammates I stand side-by-side with wearing the green and gold jersey.” – Tameka Yallop

• This media release was published by the Matildas (Australia’s national football team) on 10 October 2021. Click here for the original.

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