Sam Kerr
Sam Kerr has gone to court in England accused of racially aggravated harassment of a police officer. Image by AP PHOTO
  • crime, law and justice

Matildas star Kerr didn’t tell FA of harassment charge

March 5, 2024

Matildas captain Sam Kerr kept her racial harassment charge and court appearance secret from Football Australia.

Kerr, Australia’s highest-profile sportswoman, has faced a court in London charged with racially aggravated harassment of a police officer.

Kerr entered a not guilty plea and will likely face another court hearing in February.

The Chelsea star is charged with using insulting, threatening or abusive words that caused alarm or distress to PC Lovell during an incident in Twickenham on January 30 last year.

Kerr was charged on January 21 this year but didn’t inform Football Australia (FA), chief executive James Johnson says.

“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.”

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.”

Kerr is currently recovering from knee reconstructive surgery, which is expected to sideline her from the Matildas’ campaign at this year’s Paris Olympics.