Ap London


Updated Tuesday, March 5, 2024-09:28

Australian soccer star Sam Kerr has pleaded not guilty to aggravated racist harassment of a police officer, British prosecutors said on Monday.

The 30-year-old striker, who plays for English club Chelsea, was accused of harassing, alarming or distressing a police officer during an

incident in Twickenham

, southwest London, on January 30 last year, according to the Public Prosecutor's Office. Crown.

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The rebellion of indigenous football

Britain's PA news agency reported that London's Metropolitan Police said the incident involved a Metropolitan Police officer responding to a

complaint about a taxi fare.

Kerr, who was charged in January, denied the charges at a plea and trial preparation hearing held on Monday at Kingston upon Thames Crown Court, the Press Association (AP) reported.

Chelsea have not made any official comment on the incident.

Football Australia chief executive James Johnson and national women's coach Tony Gustavsson told Australian media they were unaware of the allegations against Kerr until Tuesday morning.

Johnson said he had texted Kerr to check on her status, but had not had any conversations with her about it.

"We are trying to get to the bottom of it. We have our own questions that we would like to know," News Corp. quoted Johnson as saying during a news conference in Adelaide.

"There is a process underway and it must take its course."

I don't want to get into the accusations.

They are serious accusations.

At the same time, Sam has rights – natural justice rights, procedural rights – that must be respected and we respect them.”

Gustavsson said he could not comment on the allegations and referred to an earlier Football Australia statement: "The only thing I can comment on is my experience and my interaction with Sam as a person and as a footballer," he said, "and I only have one experience positive about it."

In an earlier statement, issued after British media began reporting on the matter, Football Australia said it was aware of the proceedings involving Kerr but could not comment on the legal matter. in progress.

Second after the Spanish Aitana Bonmatí for the 2023 Ballon d'Or, Kerr has been playing for Chelsea since the 2019-20 season, where she has

won the last four English leagues.

Operated on a serious injury to the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee at the beginning of January during a training camp in Morocco, the striker is recovering from that operation, but her presence for the remainder of the season and at the Paris Olympic Games is in doubt. .

International with the


since he was 15, Sam Kerr participated in the last World Cup, in which Australia, co-hosting with New Zealand, lost in the semi-finals to England.

Kerr is the captain of Australia's women's team, the Matildas, and the

country's all-time leading scorer

in international football, with 69 goals in 128 games.

She has scored 58 goals for Chelsea in the WSL since 2020 after prolific spells playing for clubs in the United States and Australia.