Football: Australia 'Matildas' superstar Sam Kerr fighting charge of racial slur towards London police officer

Chelsea forward Sam Kerr has the Women's Super League club's "full support", with the Australia captain facing trial in the UK, accused of racially aggravated harassment of a police officer.

Kerr, 30, was charged in January, almost a year after the incident at London was alleged to have occurred. 

"The charge relates to an incident involving a police officer, who was responding to a complaint involving a taxi fare on January 30 2023 in Twickenham," the Metropolitan Police said.

Sam Kerr celebrates her 'wonder goal' at the World Cup.
Sam Kerr celebrates her 'wonder goal' at the World Cup. Photo credit: Getty Images

Kerr is alleged to have called the officer a "stupid, white bastard", but has pleaded not guilty, via video link at Kingston Crown Court.

The club did not comment on Kerr's case at the time, but manager Emma Hayes says she and "everyone else at Chelsea" will support her.

"I think the first thing I want to say is Sam has our full support, she knows that," said Hayes. "Yes, it's a difficult time for her.

"Of course, I can't comment, what I can say is she has pleaded not guilty and I don't want to do anything to jeopardise anything for Sam by speaking about it. For that reason... that's all I am going to say on the matter, but she has our full support and she knows that.

"It's really important I get that across, it's something I really value. Difficult moments, tough times.

"That's what my role is in this football club, to make sure I look after our people."

British media reported Kerr's lawyers will attempt to have the charge thrown out in a hearing next month.

Australia's all-time topscorer, with 69 goals in 128 appearances, has been sidelined since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury at Chelsea training in January.

She has scored 99 goals in 128 matches for the London side, winning the league four times, the FA Cup three times and the League Cup twice.


Football Australia (FA) was unaware of Kerr's legal trouble, until the news broke early in Australia this week.

"We woke up to this this morning," said FA boss James Johnson. "Of course, it's a very serious allegation.

"It regards racism and there's no place for racism in our sport. At the same time, Sam has rights, natural justice rights, procedural rights that she's got to work her way through and we're respectful of that."

Australia coach Tony Gustavsson is similarly surprised and says he would, "as a human being, always support her".

"The only thing I can comment on is my experience and interaction with Sam as a person, as a footballer, and I have only positive experiences," he said.

The news overshadowed FA's announcement of the national women's team's farewell matches against China at Adelaide on May 31 and at Sydney on June 3, before their campaign to win a first Olympic medal at Paris.

Johnson says FA is seeking more information and that it is too early to comment on whether the incident might affect Kerr's captaincy of the 'Matildas', the national women's side.

"I haven't spoken to Sam, other than a text message just to check in on her wellbeing at the moment, because she is an employee of ours and also a player," he said.

Sam Kerr and Tony Gustavsson reflect on defeat in the World Cup semis.
Sam Kerr and Tony Gustavsson reflect on defeat in the World Cup semis. Photo credit: Getty Images

Revered by Australian soccer fans, Kerr's global celebrity helped bring the women's game into the mainstream and drive a major hike in corporate sponsorship for the Matildas, who reached the Women's World Cup semi-finals on home soil last year.

Kerr is also a magnet for global brands in her own right, signing deals with Nike, Mastercard and a major Australian bank.

She became the first woman on the cover of EA Sports' FIFA, the world's most popular soccer video game, before it was discontinued last year.

Last May, she led the Australian delegation as flagbearer at King Charles's coronation at Westminster Abbey.

The poster-girl for the World Cup, Kerr battled a calf injury that ruled her out much of Australia's campaign, but she returned later in the tournament and scored a wonder goal in the semi-final against England.