19 Jan 2019

Matildas coach gone after review

7:54 pm on 19 January 2019

Just like it did for his former New Zealand counterpart, a damning review has led to coach of the Australian women's football team being sacked.

Australian Matildas player Elise Kellond-Knight goes up to head the ball against New Zealand.

Australian Matildas player Elise Kellond-Knight goes up to head the ball against New Zealand. Photo: Photosport

With the World Cup just five months away, the Matildas preparations have been rocked after Football Federation Australia (FFA) confirmed the departure of Alen Stajcic on Saturday.

Stajcic, who took charge of the team in 2014, guided the team to the quarterfinals of the 2015 World Cup and the same stage at the Rio Olympics the following year.

The decision to terminate Stajcic's contract came after the FFA conducted an internal survey of players and staff, followed by a supplementary review carried out by women's rights group Our Watch.

The news comes after former New Zealand coach Andreas Heraf resigned in July, before the completion of a review into the culture and team environment he created.

That independent review came after up to 13 official complaints were made by Football Ferns players and found that complaints intimidated, offended and humiliated players and a number of staff were genuine and largely substantiated.

Stajcic's sacking also comes less than six weeks before Australia's next game, which will be against New Zealand as part of the inaugural Cup of Nations in New South Wales on February 28.

In a statement, FFA chief executive David Gallop said the ultimate responsibility for driving change and leading a high-performance environment that puts the team in the best possible position to achieve what they are capable of, rested with the head coach.

"We no longer have confidence that Alen is the right person to lead the team and staff.

"FFA is committed to providing the best possible environment for the Matildas and this change is being made with that objective in mind.

"We will continue to review other aspects of the team set-up and monitor the Matildas environment in the coming weeks and months as we build for the FIFA Women's World Cup in France."

The Australian team are ranked sixth in the world and are one of the favourites for the tournament, which runs from June 7 to July 7.

The FFA said it would now begin the process of appointing an interim coach to take charge of the team through until the World Cup.

- Reuters