New revelation Sam Kerr didn't tell Football Australia about harassment charge

The Matildas captain has been charged in the UK and will face a trial next year.

Football Australia boss James Johnson has revealed Sam Kerr didn't disclose her racial harassment charge and court appearance to the governing body. The Matildas superstar is set to face trial in the UK early next year after being charged with racially aggravated harassment of a police officer from an incident over 12 months ago.

The Aussie star, who plays for Chelsea in the Women's Super League in England, appeared in court in London on Monday accused of using insulting, threatening or abusive words that caused alarm or distress to the policeman, named only as PC Lovell. The alleged incident happened at Twickenham on January 30, 2023. The 30-year-old appeared at Kingston Crown Court via videolink, and only spoke to confirm her identity and enter a plea of not guilty to the charge.

Football Australia boss James Johnson, pictured here alongside Sam Kerr.
Football Australia boss James Johnson said he only found out about the situation with Sam Kerr when the public did. Image: Getty

Kerr is expected to go to trial in February next year, with two police officers scheduled to give evidence. The trial is due to last four days. Judge Judith Elaine Coello reportedly said on Monday: "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."

The Metropolitan Police later 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."

Sam Kerr.
Sam Kerr is set to face a trial in London next year. Image: Getty

Football Australia and Matildas coach kept in the dark

Football Australia released a statement on Tuesday morning, saying: "Football Australia is aware of the legal proceedings involving Sam Kerr in the United Kingdom. As this is an ongoing legal matter, we are unable to provide further comment at this time. Our focus remains on supporting all our players, both on and off the field. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide support as appropriate."

Just hours later, Johnson fronted the media and revealed he'd only learned of the situation when the general public did. Even though Kerr was charged on January 21, she didn't inform Football Australia.

"I woke up this morning like everyone else did to the news," Johnson told reporters in Adelaide. "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, we have got to find out what actually happened. But we also want to say that there is a process that is under way in the United Kingdom and that process needs to run its course."


Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson was also in the dark. "First time I ever heard about it was this morning," he told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday. "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."

Sam Kerr in action for the Matildas.
Sam Kerr celebrates after scoring a goal for the Matildas in October.

Could Sam Kerr be facing jail time in the UK?

In the UK, harassment convictions can include a sentence of up to two years in custody when the offence is racially or religiously aggravated. Kerr is one of the best known and most recognisable figures in Australia, especially after the Matildas' run to the semi-finals of the Women's World Cup in Australia last year. It marked the first time an Australian team (male or female) had made it to the final four of a FIFA World Cup.

She is also widely recognised and famous in the UK, and many other parts of the football world. In May she carried the Australian flag at the coronation of King Charles in Westminster Abbey.

with AAP

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