Football: FA, players' union slam online abuse of Australia women's national team

The players' union said it had reported an incident of "image-based" abuse to a government internet watchdog. PHOTO: AFP

MELBOURNE (REUTERS) - Australia's football federation and players' union have condemned "vile" abuse directed towards the women's national team on social media after reports that images of two players were shared without their consent.

The players' union said it had reported an incident of "image-based" abuse to a government internet watchdog, while governing body Football Australia had contacted police and Twitter, Australian media reported.

"This targeted and vile behaviour is unacceptable and must be called out," Professional Footballers Australia co-chief executive Kathryn Gill said in a statement on Wednesday (Oct 13).

"We will continue to work with authorities and won't hesitate to involve the police as required, particularly in respect to instances classified as criminal in nature."

Football Australia and the players' union declined to name the players targeted.

"We are closely monitoring the activities of these accounts, including for potentially defamatory comments, and have reported and will continue to report activities of concern to the relevant authorities," a Football Australia spokesperson said.

The targeted abuse follows allegations of sexual assault, harassment and bullying within the Matildas camp made by former striker Lisa de Vanna and other players last week.

De Vanna's allegations prompted Football Australia to announce it would set up an independent complaint management procedure.

The Matildas issued a statement on Monday defending the national women's set-up, saying they had a "strong professional, inclusive and supportive culture" that did not condone any of the reported behaviour.

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