As clear as Murray River mud.
Alen Stajcic said he is still none the wiser about why he was sacked as Matildas coach in January.
The dumped coach has confirmed he is considering legal action against Australia’s peak football body, Football Federation Australia.
“I still do not know the reasons why my employment was terminated aside from Mr Gallop [FFA chief executive David Gallop] telling me the Matildas had a poor culture and that I, as head coach, was responsible,” Stajcic told a media conference in Sydney on Monday.
Stajcic was speaking publicly for the first time since he was sacked as head coach of Australia’s women’s football team just months out from its World Cup finals campaign. It begins in France in June.
“I have until now remained silent for important legal reasons,” Stajcic said.
“Throughout this difficult time, I’ve tried to remain constructive and consider all the affected parties, I’ve acted in the best interest of my family – innocent persons who are suffering due to the injustice that has occurred.”
A clearly emotional Stajcic admitted the saga had been bruising.
“The events of the past few weeks have devastated both me and my family. My career’s in tatters and my reputation has been ruined,” he said.
Stajcic took particular aim at the FFA board and an unnamed board member who was quoted in the media, believing they have irreparably damaged his reputation.
Shocked/disappointed to hear Staj won’t be taking us to the World Cup in less than 5 months. We’ve been preparing meticulously under him over the last 4yrs to have the best crack to win in France and under his guidance we have been the most successful team in Matildas history. 🇦🇺
— Kyah Simon (@KyahSimon) January 19, 2019
“The alleged actions of an FFA board member have smeared my name as an international coach and as a father and a person,” he said.
Stajcic said that it was time to speak out to “protect his reputation against unwarranted speculation from various sources”.
The former Matildas coach stated that during his time as coach he “never witnessed, never participated in, never acquiesced to the participation of others in any impropriety related to players or the Matildas setup”.
Stajcic was adamant that the grounds laid out for his dismissal, most particularly the assertion of a “poor culture” within the Matildas, were wrong and that he had never been made aware of any concerns about his team and its wellbeing.
“During my tenure over nearly five years, I was not made aware of, by FFA’s chief executive David Gallop, of the existence of or the occurrence of any serious issues or concerns within the setup.”
”In fact, up until the day before FFA terminated my employment, I’ve only ever received praise from Mr Gallop, both publicly and privately.”
Stajcic insists he has requested a further explanation for his axing but FFA has refused to provide one.
The sacking coincided with surveys and reports into the Matildas structure. The Professional Footballers Association gave Satjcic a copy of its wellbeing report in early December 2018. Stajcic told the media conference he took issue with it.
“The report was materially and hopelessly flawed in its design and delivery. I questioned the validity, reliability and integrity of the results on multiple occasions,” he said.
The Matildas draw first blood!
Chloe Logarzo scores from a rapid counter attack lead by Lisa De Vanna!
Matildas 1 – 0 USA
— FOX SPORTS Football (@FOXFootballLive) July 29, 2018
Stajcic claims that his repeated requests to receive the survey materials confidentially continue to be refused by FFA.
“I was left in the impossible position where I could not respond to anything that had been referred to,” Stajcic said.
“At no time … has the FFA afforded me any opportunity, courtesy or fairness or allowed me to respond to any of the findings that were considered in deciding to terminate my employment.”
Stajcic insisted he wasn’t asking for his job back, but said he was trying to restore his damaged reputation.
He said the majority of the Matildas squad had contacted him to express their support.
“The team has to regroup and focus on the World Cup,” he said. “That’s still my priority – that they be as successful as they can. It is hurtful that I won’t be part of it.”