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The obvious question that Heather Reid is yet to answer

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Expert
4th June, 2019
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Few have done more for football than Heather Reid.

Advocacy for gender equality and the promotion of women’s sport are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to her considerable achievements.

The promotion of football in the ACT and an active role in the push for both a women’s World Cup and Olympic participation are also notches on her impressive belt.

The establishment and development of Capital Football and the eventual birth of Canberra United also have Reid’s fingerprints on them and, as a nation, her role in the game has been officially recognised.

In 2007 she was added to the Australian Football Roll of Honour and in 2015 Reid was awarded the Member of Australia Medal for her tireless work and commitment as one of the nations’ most respected and effective sports administrators.

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It was somewhat logical after 30 years of service to sport and football that Reid would be elected to the FFA board in 2018, filling one of the vacancies created after the departure of former chairman Steven Lowy.

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Reid was elected in a canter and assumed the role of deputy chair once the tumult around the elections had settled.

Now, her position and reputation lie in tatters.

If she is feeling rather ashamed and embarrassed after her initial comments on Alen Stajcic’s sacking and the apology which eventuated from it, she should be.

A good man was cast aside by the FFA when Stajcic was removed from his post as Matildas coach. That in itself is fine, football is a business and coaching tenures are far from guaranteed.

However, we now know that the insinuation and suggestion that Reid fuelled in the days after Stajcic’s dismissal had no basis in truth.

Her statement that people “would be shocked” were they armed with all of the reasons behind the decision and her suggestion that Stajcic would never work in women’s football again if those reasons were to ever be made public have now been withdrawn.

Alen Stajcic

Alen Stajcic . (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Rumours surrounding the coach were drip-fed to numerous members of the media, who were taken in hook, line and sinker.

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The Matildas themselves appeared stunned, Stajcic kept tight-lipped aside from one emotive statement in regards to the impact the saga was having on his family and no concrete evidence or logical reason was ever provided to support the FFA’s decision.

Reid’s public apology in a statement issued by the FFA on Saturday retracts her original comments, with Reid saying she “was wrong to imply” his sacking had anything to do with misconduct.

She has apologised unreservedly for the “damage, distress and hurt” she caused Stajcic as a professional, as well as referencing his immediate family and the impact her actions have had on them.

My question for Heather Reid is a simple one: why?

It is a question I would like her to answer. To spread such falsehoods with the reasonable expectation they’d gain wider exposure is not something done for kicks.

What was her endgame?

It is logical to think her intention was to justify the FFA’s decision to remove Stajcic, but why exactly did it need to be justified?

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Come on Heather, tell us. I am fascinated.

There is no reference to motivation or intention in her statement and, with the FFA distancing itself from Reid’s remarks by stating she acted alone, her personal objective should be something they too seek.

There are plenty of theories around as to why this all transpired yet I am nowhere near silly enough to include them here.

All we can say for certain at this point is that the FFA sacked Stajcic because they wanted someone else to be the coach and that Reid’s position on the FFA board is untenable.