Furious Matildas want sacked coach back
A DELEGATION of Matildas are to demand the reinstatement of sacked coach Alen Stajcic as the fallout from his axing continues to reverberate around the sport.
When the Matildas attend a long-planned team culture workshop in Sydney on Monday, several senior players have indicated they intend to challenge Stajcic's exit less than five months before the Word Cup.
Some fear the ructions will destroy their prospects at the tournament after Stajcic was sacked on Saturday morning in the wake of a gender-equality survey of some members of the squad whose results sparked alarm among FFA management.
A host of senior players voiced shock and dismay at the turn of events.
Star striker Sam Kerr, whose marquee salary is partly funded by FFA, tweeted that "I have not been gagged by the FFA. I have not commented because I wasn't ready to comment while I am still shocked and upset. My trust was in Staj to lead us to the World Cup final & I believe he was the best coach for that."
The gender survey, conducted by a women's advocacy group, Our Watch, was voluntary among the players, but issues including bullying and harassment within the team environment were said to have been raised.
A homophobic comment by a Matildas staff member is thought to have been one of the examples cited by a player in the survey, whose results FFA has refused to release, citing player confidentiality.
Though FFA bosses referenced a "wellbeing audit" conducted with the players' association (PFA) as being one of the factors prompting their action against Stajcic, it's understood the results of that audit were about improving the high-performance environment of the Matildas, rather than questioning the specific behaviours of the coaching staff.
Stajcic approved the questions and was shown the responses to the audit, but has not been given the results of the gender-equality survey.
As a number of senior players have flagged their support for their now former coach on social media, Chloe Logarzo spoke of her shock at the decision.
"We were informed really late and it's really disheartening to lose a coach that means a lot to me and a lot to the players," she said.
"I've had him as a coach for 11 years and for him to be there from the very start - for the last four years especially, in the lead-up to the World Cup.
"We always thought that he would be the one that's the captain of the ship leading us through the World Cup but unfortunately things happen in football and that's just what happens and we need to move on."
Though Stajcic will be paid out the remainder of his contract, he will be taking legal advice this week over the damage to his reputation from the sacking.
Questions have continued to be raised over how what FFA has called a "toxic environment" was allowed to develop in the two years since the head coach was awarded an upgraded contract, and how effective is the oversight of the national teams within FFA.
In 2016, Stajcic was given an upgraded contract, specifically being praised for changing the culture of the team.
- with AAP