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Sam Kerr did not disclose legal troubles, Football Australia and Matildas coach say

Matildas captain Sam Kerr’s court appearance over a racial harassment charge is “unsettling”, Football Australia says, claiming the matters caught it by surprise.
Kerr, Australia’s highest-profile sportswoman, has faced a court in London charged with racially aggravated harassment of a police officer.
She entered a not guilty plea and will likely face another court hearing in February, 2025.

The Chelsea star — who is recovering from knee reconstructive surgery — is charged with using insulting, threatening or abusive words that allegedly caused alarm or distress to PC Lovell during an incident in Twickenham in London on 30 January last year.

Football Australia, Matildas coach blindsided by news of legal issue

Kerr was charged on 21 January this year.
But Football Australia chief executive James Johnson said she did not inform the sports body of her racial harassment charge, or her court appearance.
“I woke up this morning like everyone else did to the news,” Johnson told reporters in Adelaide on Tuesday.
“And that is when Football Australia found out about this unsettling event.

“We are trying to get to the bottom of it at the moment.

“We have got our own questions that we’d like to know (answers to), we have got to find out what actually happened.
“But we also want to say that there is a process that is underway in the United Kingdom and that process needs to run its course.”
Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson was also shocked by Kerr’s court appearance.
“First time I ever heard about it was this morning,” Gustavsson told reporters in Sydney.

“I was informed this morning and obviously was surprised … I can make it very clear that today was the very first time I ever heard about it.”

A man speaking.

Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson says he was caught unawares by news of Sam Kerr’s charge. Source: AAP / Dan Himbrechts

Kerr could face up to two years in custody if found guilty

Kerr appeared at Kingston Crown Court via video link and spoke only to confirm her identity and to enter a not guilty plea, the Daily Mail reported.
Harassment convictions in the UK can include a sentence of up to two years in custody when the offence is racially or religiously aggravated.
The UK’s Metropolitan Police confirmed: “Samantha Kerr, 30 (10.09.93) of Richmond was charged via postal charge requisition on 21 January with a racially aggravated offence under Section 4A Public Order Act 1986.
“The charge relates to an incident involving a police officer who was responding to a complaint involving a taxi fare on 30 January 2023 in Twickenham.”

In court, Judge Judith Elaine Coello was reported to have said to Kerr’s barrister, Grace Forbes: “I understand that the defence is that she didn’t intend to cause alarm, harassment or distress to the officer, (her behaviour) did not amount to it and it was not racially aggravated.”

Johnson said the allegations were “very serious”.
“Sam has rights, natural justice rights, procedural rights, that she has got to work her way through, and we are respectful of that,” he said.
“We need to understand the issue a little bit better.”
Johnson and Gustavsson both refused to comment on whether Kerr would lose the captaincy of the Matildas.

“We need to understand the situation better, and until that time we can’t really say anything further,” Johnson said.

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