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Football Australia responds to Lisa De Vanna's allegations of sexual abuse

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Heartbroken De Vanna walks away from football (0:36)

Matildas great Lisa De Vanna feels she's given everything she can to her football career, after 150 appearances for the national side. (0:36)

Football Australia is calling on former players to make formal complaints after former Matildas striker Lisa De Vanna rocked the sport with claims of sexual abuse.

The governing body has also moved to establish an independent complaint management process in which Sport Integrity Australia will receive, assess, and manage all complaints. The National Sports Tribunal will have jurisdiction to hear any disputes that fall within the scope of the complaints process, through mediation, conciliation, or arbitration.

De Vanna and former teammate Rhali Dobson are the latest top Australian sportswomen to go public with allegations of a toxic culture while they were competing.

A Swimming Australia investigation is ongoing into allegations of an abusive culture in the sport, while women's hockey and gymnastics in Australia have also probed similar claims.

The National Women's Soccer League in the United States, meanwhile, is also embrolied in scandal after North Carolina Courage last week fired coach Paul Riley amid allegations spanning over a decade of sexual coercion and inappropriate comments about players' weight and sexual orientation.

De Vanna has alleged she suffered same-sex sexual harassment, abuse and bullying during her decorated 150-game international career with the Matildas.

Australia's second-highest goalscorer in senior internationals, De Vanna says the incidents date back to 2001 when she joined the Young Matildas squad as a 17-year-old.

- 'Heartbroken' Lisa De Vanna walks away from football

"I was pulled down from behind and dry-h-----d by a few of my teammates," De Vanna told News Corp.

"I fought my way off the floor kicking and screaming.

"They thought it was funny. I was just a young kid from Perth, I didn't know any different. I lost my shit and wanted to punch them.

"Have I been sexually harassed? Yes. Have I been bullied? Yes. Ostracised? Yes. Have I seen things that have made me uncomfortable? Yes.

"In any sporting organisation and in any environment, grooming, preying and unprofessional behaviour makes me sick.

"As a youngster and a player I didn't know how to address this ... but it is still happening across all levels and it's time to speak up."

Football Australia released a statement on Tuesday night, after the News Corp report had been published, and said that it had "met with De Vanna and heard her grievances".

"The specific allegations made public were not raised with us in that meeting," Football Australia said in the statement.

"In the event that Lisa chooses to lodge a formal complaint through the appropriate channels, we will be in a position to investigate and, if appropriate, act accordingly.

"We encourage anyone to bring forward their concerns through Football Australia's formal complaints process ... any such matter will be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.

"The same process is open to Rhali Dobson and other former players and staff to formally bring forward any claims."

W-League stalwart Dobson has also alleged she was a target of sexual harassment in her career.

Australia's football players' union, Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), said it was "deeply concerned" at the claims.

"We recognise that the decision to speak publicly would not have been made lightly," the PFA's co-chief executives Beau Busch and Kathryn Gill said in a statement.

"It is critical that the sport provides a safe and inclusive workplace and, importantly, the players are supported to come forward."

Football Australia chief executive James Johnson said his organisation treated matters of abuse seriously and had a "zero tolerance" approach.

"The wellbeing of our diverse community is our priority, and we're committed to safe, inclusive environments for all footballers and staff," he said.

"There is no place for abuse, harassment or bullying in our sport and it's incumbent on organisations like ours to take the lead when it comes to dealing with these issues head-on."

Sport Integrity Australia chief executive David Sharpe said it was important for complaints to be handled outside an individual sport.

"I welcome the proactive approach from FA to address these issues independently," he said.

"Having an independent body to hear complaints is critical to giving athletes and staff confidence that their concerns will be heard openly and that they will be treated fairly. Nothing can be swept under the carpet."