Soccer

Matildas to announce new coach in February after shock firing

AFP-JIJI

Football Federation Australia will appoint a new women’s team head coach in two weeks following the shock sacking of Alen Stajcic, the governing body’s chief said Monday.

Stajcic, who had coached the Matildas since 2014, was dumped by the FFA on Saturday over concerns about “workplace” and “player welfare” issues. Calls have since grown for more detailed explanation of his sudden dismissal.

FFA chief David Gallop said at the weekend he had lost faith in the 45-year-old, but did not give specific details when speaking to reporters Monday.

The FFA’s own newly established Women’s Council said it was not consulted or made aware of the decision.

Stajcic’s removal followed two recent, confidential FFA surveys to evaluate the team environment and culture, along with interviews involving players and staff.

Gallop told reporters he had met with the Matildas playing group twice on Monday and said he stressed that the move to terminate Stajcic’s contract was not just based on the surveys but also on a “range of reasons and a range of information.”

“These matters are accumulative and there was a real view that things had deteriorated in recent times, then it gets to a critical point where a decision needs to be made with preparation time in mind and that’s why the decision was taken,” he said.

“I think further information was only available to us in the last week or so. These are cumulative views that are taken, taking into account a range of factors.”

Gallop said the players did not call for Stajcic to be reinstated, and added that the FFA were looking to appoint a new coach “in approximately two weeks’ time” to allow the squad to prepare for the Cup of Nations tournament on home soil ahead of the World Cup.

The Cup of Nations will see the Matildas take on Argentina, South Korea and New Zealand in late February and early March.

The Women’s World Cup takes place in France in June and July.