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Football star Kerr pleads not guilty to racially aggravated offence

Messenger Sports

Published: 10:54, 5 March 2024

Football star Kerr pleads not guilty to racially aggravated offence

Sam Kerr. Photo: Collected 

International women's football star Sam Kerr is facing trial in England after pleading not guilty to a racially aggravated offence against a London police officer, prosecutors said.

The Chelsea striker and Australia captain was charged following an incident in January last year, when the Metropolitan Police said they were called to a dispute over a taxi fare.

The 30-year-old Kerr, born to an Anglo-Indian father and Australian mother, is a treasured sporting figure in Australia and one of the most famous players in women's football.

Australia's all-time leading scorer last year graced the cover of the FIFA video game alongside Kylian Mbappe.

She is expected to face trial in February 2025. The charge, relating to "threatening, abusive or insulting" behaviour, can carry a fine or custodial sentence if proven.

The alleged incident occurred before last year's World Cup, which was held in Australia and New Zealand, but was not publicly disclosed until now and appeared to take Australian football bosses by surprise.

Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson said he had only found out about the allegation on Tuesday and was yet to speak to his skipper. I was informed this morning and obviously I was surprised, he said.

I can't comment on the offence because it's a legal matter at this point. The only thing I can comment on is my experience and interaction with Sam as a person, and as a footballer. And I have only had positive experiences, he said.

Gustavsson said it was too early to say whether the allegation would rule Kerr out of selection for this summer's Paris Olympics.

Kerr has been sidelined since January with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.

I think it's a bit too early to look at selection at this time and as we all know with Sam's serious injury in January, there's obviously a very big question mark whether she will even be up for selection, said Gustavsson.