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Former Matildas coach Alen Stajcic has spoken on his sacking as Matildas coach this morning, telling the press that he still doesn’t know why he was sacked, and believes it was without cause.
Stajcic was controversially dumped by the FFA on January 19 as coach of the Matildas in a World Cup year, with the only reason being given a poor culture within the team.
A clearly emotional Stajcic, who had plenty of success during his time with the national side, said his reputation was in tatters and he had maintained his silence due to legal reasons, with possible proceedings against the FFA to follow.
“It is unfortunate that I could not make any public comment earlier than now, regarding the ongoing speculation and innuendo concerning my removal as the head coach of the Australian women’s football team. I have until now remained silent for important legal reasons,” he said.
“Throughout this difficult time I have tried to remain constructive and consider all of the affected parties. Most importantly, I have also acted in the best interests of my family and innocent people who are suffering personally due to the injustice that has occurred. This has taken a huge personal toll on my family.
“In order to protect my reputation in the face of unwarranted speculation from various sources, I feel that it is necessary that I make this statement in relation to the FFA’s decision to terminate my employment.
“The events of the last few weeks have devastated both me and my family. My career is in tatters and my reputation has been ruined.”
The 45-year-old talked about the changing face of football in Australia and the challenges faced by the Matildas, but said he was never made aware of any issues within the set up until the day before his sacking when he had an approximately 20-minute meeting with FFA CEO David Gallop.
“I wish to make it abundantly clear that during my time as Matildas head coach, over nearly five years, I was not made aware by FFA’s CEO David Gallop of the existence of, or the occurrence of, any serious issues of concern within the Matildas set-up. Up until the day before the FFA terminated my employment, I have only ever received praise from Mr Gallop both publicly and privately,” he said.
“I still do not know the reason why my employment was terminated, aside from Mr Gallop telling me the Matildas had a ‘poor culture’ and I, as head coach, was responsible. No other explanation has been given to me in spite of my repeated requests to the FFA.”
Stajcic said he approved of the original survey which is thought to be a major part of his downfall as Matildas coach, however, he lost faith in it when the ensuing report was made available to him in December.
He also hinted at one of the FFA board members intentionally leaking statements against Stajcic which have damaged his reputation, leading to possible legal action.
“Statements that were leaked by a particular board director, which included that “I would never work in football again,” have caused irreparable damage,” he said.
“I consider these actions of the FFA to be without foundation and unjustifiable – and the alleged actions of the FFA board member have smeared my name, not only as an international coach, but as a father and a person.
“I have taken legal advice about these matters, which includes potential action on defamation and the breach of contractual obligations by the FFA.”
He also said there were no issues raised within the team, citing the words of co-captain Claire Polkinghorne.
“(Maltidas co-captain Clare Polkinghorne) said publicly a few days ago she had not experienced any bullying, fat-shaming, or toxic environment that had been cited as a reason (for his sacking).”
Stajcic has also said during his press conference when answering questions that he would support an independent review into his dismissal from the organisation as coach and the process which was undertaken to reach the decision.
The coach felt he had been ‘left in the dark,’ by the organisation and blindsided by his sacking, meaning this issue looks far from over.