Seven Consulting backs independent women's soccer investigation

12 October 2021 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read
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Sponsor Seven Consulting has stated that it’s pleased with Sports Integrity Australia’s role in investigating claims against the Australian women’s soccer team, after being shocked by the recent allegations of abuse.

Project delivery firm Seven Consulting – widely known for its association with Australian women’s soccer team the Matildas – has backed Football Australia’s decision to bring in independent body Sports Integrity Australia (SIA) to investigate the bombshell allegations of harassment and abuse made by former international striker Lisa De Vanna. Seven Consulting last year signed a three-year sponsorship extension until 2023.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Declan Boyle, who founded Seven Consulting in 2002 after an earlier career start at PwC, said, “To have an independent group look at it is a very good step forward from Football Australia. We are glad it’s being treated seriously and we are fully behind the Matildas with our support for the team and the players.”

Seven Consulting backs independent women's soccer investigation

Detailed allegations of a culture of abuse within the women’s team, which included claims of sexual harassment, indecent assault and grooming, were first aired in the Daily Telegraph last week, spreading shock among players and fans. In the interview, De Vanna claims she was pulled to the ground and dry-humped by fellow squad-members, and that she was once asked to join “two girls in the shower rubbing soap on each other.”

While De Vanna’s claims have been backed by others, including former teammate Elissia Carnavas, the current playing group has since responded, expressing sympathy in a joint statement and acknowledging the seriousness of the allegations but with many personally denying having experienced any cultural issues during their time with the team. Football Australia has said it would comply with any recommendations made by SIA.

Seven Consulting, which from offices in Sydney and Melbourne supports clients with program and project advisory and delivery along with a full range of PMO services, first signed up as an independent sponsor of the women’s team in 2017 to help bridge the gap in funding between men’s and women’s football, before renewing its support last year in the lead-up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup to be hosted in Australia in 2023.

The significance of that re-signing is that it followed a period of cost-cutting measures instituted at the firm in the wake of Covid-19 (which were enacted in a democratic fashion), and that as a smaller profit-sharing consultancy with approximately 100 professionals any sponsorship outlay would eat into individual incomes. Yet, according to Boyle, the original vote came back 95 percent in favour. “Everyone in the company is putting their hand in their pocket to support the team.”

That close relationship, between a relatively smaller organisation and a sporting outfit on the international stage, is evident in other areas too. Post-sporting employment is an issue for many athletes, who spend the majority of their early years training and playing before reaching an abrupt retirement, often without other skills to fall back on.

To this end, Seven Consulting has been providing a number of Matildas with flexible career development opportunities, including West Ham midfielder Tameka Yallop, with a view to future employment.