/ 06 March 2024

Secrecy surrounds Sam Kerr’s charges

Sam Kerr

The Squiz

Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson has vowed to support Sam Kerr “as a human being” despite being blindsided by the charges against her yesterday, saying it was “the very first time” he’d heard about it. The 30yo is set to go on trial in the UK for the alleged racially aggravated harassment of a police officer following a dispute over a taxi fare in southwest London on 30 January last year. It comes after Kerr appeared in court, where she was accused of using insulting/threatening/abusive words that caused alarm or distress to the officer. Appearing via video link, the Chelsea striker/Matildas captain pleaded not guilty

What’s this about exactly?

Good question… Despite the incident over a year ago, little information has been made public. What we do know is the alleged offence happened the day after Kerr scored a hat-trick – aka 3 goals – against Liverpool in the FA Cup, which Chelsea won. Reports say she was out celebrating, but how things escalated into a row over a taxi fare that saw police attend is unknown. It took until 21 January this year for Kerr to be charged under Section 4A of the UK’s Public Order Act, meaning she faces a maximum penalty of 6 months in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Football Australia boss James Johnson says news of the “unsettling event” was a surprise to him, and they need to “find out what actually happened”. 

What comes next?

Kerr will appear at Wimbledon Magistrates Court in February next year, where 2 police officers will give evidence in the trial that will last about 4 days. Her lawyers are expected to argue that her behaviour was “not racially aggravated”. Whatever happens with Kerr’s legal battle, it won’t stop the Matildas… Their last 2 matches before July-August’s Paris Olympics as part of an international series against China are set for 31 May in Adelaide and 3 June in Sydney, and both games are expected to sell out. Whether Kerr will play in those matches or the Olympics is still TBD given her serious ACL injury – she has not been officially ruled out but reports say her captaincy could be in question. Former Socceroo Robbie Slater said Kerr is an icon and like football’s Taylor Swift. “But it is all very strange, and you can’t blame Sam Kerr if it’s taken a year for a charge to come.”

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