Football Australia’s Independent Complaints Handling Process – Update

Sport Integrity Australia

Sport Integrity Australia has today provided an update on Football Australia’s (FA) Independent Complaints Handling Process (ICHP).

The ICHP was established by FA to enable Sport Integrity Australia to independently receive, assess and manage complaints relating to Football Australia’s National Programs (including the men’s and women’s National teams, plus the A-League Men, A-League Women and A-League Youth).

Sport Integrity Australia called for submissions between 1 November 2021 and 31 January 2022 on allegations relating to abuse, bullying, child abuse, child grooming, endangering the safety of a child, harassment, sexual misconduct, unlawful discrimination, victimisation, and vilification, which occurred at the National Level of football.

Over this period, Sport Integrity Australia received 27 submissions. Of those, 9 allegations were Complaints made by individuals who were directly impacted, and 18 allegations were Reports made by witnesses who were not directly affected.

Of the 27 submissions, 2 have proceeded to the investigation phase. The remaining 25 submissions were deemed to be out-of-scope and will not be continued through the ICHP.

Each of these matters fell outside the scope of the ICHP, for reasons such as:

  • The alleged conduct did not occur at the national level (for example it occurred in community football)
  • The alleged conduct did not relate to Prohibited Conduct under the ICHP (for example it was an employment or governance issue)
  • The submission was made anonymously (or provided for information only).

In addition, three of the 25 submissions which were out of scope have been referred to law enforcement because they included information that could warrant criminal investigation.

All persons who made submissions have now been advised whether their submission would proceed to investigation, or whether it was out of scope of the ICHP.

Sport Integrity Australia CEO David Sharpe reiterated that under Football Australia’s ICHP Sport Integrity Australia had no jurisdiction over matters that occurred in community football, however referral options were included wherever possible, including relevant bodies to action moving forward.

“Although we received a number of submissions which were out of scope, Sport Integrity Australia evaluated each submission and assisted those lodging complaints to connect them to alternate options or contact the relevant body where possible who could manage the complaint,” Mr Sharpe said.

He said the agency valued every submission as they gave the agency a stronger understanding of the integrity landscape in sport.

“Every person who speaks up helps us understand what is happening in their sport, and where, and on what issues we need to direct our education and policy resources to build stronger, safer environments in future.”

The 5 steps of the Football Australia ICHP are available here: Sport Integrity Australia Complaints Process: Step by Step

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