Anthony Albanese praises 'exemplary' Sam Kerr as injury spares Matildas star's blushes

Kerr's police charge has exposed an awkward situation around the injured Matildas superstar.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has given Sam Kerr a glowing character reference, in the wake of the legal storm surrounding the Matildas captain. The Aussie football star allegedly called a police officer a 'stupid white bastard' after reportedly throwing up in a taxi during a night out in London, in 2023, according to The Sun.

The 30-year-old Chelsea superstar has been charged with using insulting, threatening or abusive words that caused alarm or distress during the incident in Twickenham on January 30. Kerr has pleaded not guilty to the charge and will be back in court for a pre-trial hearing next month.

Kerr's lawyers will reportedly seek to have the charge downgraded or dropped completely due to 'abuse of process' after it took police 12 months to lay the charge. Kerr was notified of the charge on January 21 this year and will head to trial in February 2025 if the case proceeds that far.

On the right is Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Matildas captain Sam Kerr.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has spoke glowingly of Sam Kerr's character in the wake of the police charges against the Matildas captain. Pic: Getty

Prime Minister talks up Sam Kerr's character

While Australia's Prime Minister declined to comment on a matter before the courts, he did speak glowingly about his previous meetings with Kerr. The Matildas captain was selected as Australia's flag bearer at the coronation of Prince Charles in May last year, and Mr Albanese described her as being an 'exemplary' ambassador for the nation. The PM also met Kerr during the Matildas' run to World Cup semi-finals last year.

“I don’t comment on legal matters before Australian courts, let alone other ones,” Mr Albanese said. “I will say this about my contact with Sam Kerr, she was our flag bearer at the coronation. My contact with her was exemplary. She did Australia proud at that time and I think that my contact with her has been nothing but delightful.”

Kerr is currently sidelined with an ACL injury that's ruled her out of the entire Women's Super League (WSL) season for Chelsea, as well as Australia's Olympic Games campaign in Paris this year. Curiously, the injury could have saved the 30-year-old from being stripped of the Matildas captaincy, amid calls for Football Australia (FA) to do so.

The charge against Kerr has reportedly triggered FA's no-fault stand-down policy but the fact she's already sidelined means the governing body hasn't had to act yet. Kerr's injury means she will almost certainly not be taken to the Paris Olympics as a player or member of staff, due to the limited number of accreditations offered by the IOC.

Seen here, Matildas star Sam Kerr and Chelsea manager Emma Hayes.
Sam Kerr's manager at Chelsea, Emma Hayes, says the club is fully behind the Matildas captain after she was charged and faced court. Pic: Getty

Injured Sam Kerr avoids potentially being stood down

While Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson sidestepped questions about whether Kerr would have been stripped of the captaincy if she wasn't sidelined, Socceroos great Craig Foster suggested FA would have been left with little choice but to do so. "If she was open now and available for selection, I think you’d have to answer that question - Football Australia would certainly have to, and arguably, the answer would have to be yes," Foster said on The Today Show.

“Contractually, there’s this no-fault clauses, which say, once that occurs, players are very commonly stood down. Sam will avoid that for a period of time, but the question is going have to be answered eventually.”

FA's code suggests that Kerr has committed "misconduct" due to the fact she's been charged with a criminal offence. It's now up to the governing body to gather all the facts and determine whether her participation would damage the reputation of the sport or if that would happen if she's not suspended.


Kerr failed to inform FA of the charge or her recent court appearance, with Chelsea also reportedly kept in the dark about the situation. But Chelsea manager Emma Hayes says the Aussie superstar has the "full support" of the club. "Yes, it's a difficult time for her. Of course, I can't comment (about the case)," Hayes told reporters. "What I can say is that I know she's pleaded not guilty, and I don't want to do anything to jeopardise anything for Sam by speaking about it.

"And for that reason, I'm sure you can appreciate that's all I'm going to say on the matter. But she has our full support and she knows that, and it's really important I get that across. That's something I really, really value. There's difficult moments, tough times and that's what my role is in this football club, it's to make sure I look after our people, and I just want to be clear that Sam will be fully supported by me and everybody else at Chelsea."

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