'He called the team dysfunctional' - FFA hit back at Stajcic claims


Football Federation Australia have hit back at claims made by former Matildas coach Alen Stajcic, saying he himself had described the team environment as "dysfunctional”.

The FFA released a statement on Monday to defend their decision to sack Stajcic and refute the accusations made by him in his press conference earlier that day.

Stajcic called for an independent inquiry into his controversial dismissal in a bid to restore his damaged reputation, claiming he was never aware of any toxic team environment. 

FFA strongly denied those claims saying they acted out of their concern for the players' well being, with chairman Chris Nikou going as far as to say Stajcic himself had admitted there was a negative team environment.

"We disagree with many of his assertions and were surprised by a number of his comments," Nikou said in the statement.

"Indeed Mr Stajcic, by his own admission and in the presence of an FFA lawyer and the FFA CEO David Gallop, said that the team environment was ‘dysfunctional’ and was ‘always going to be this way’.

"In those circumstances we decided to act in time to put the team’s FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign back on track. It’s the Board’s duty to make these decisions.

"We have been 100 per cent focused on the immediate and long-term well-being of our team and staff.

"Our decision to act was driven out of care and concern for our players and people. It was and remains our sole motivation. Any suggestions to the contrary are incorrect.

"Nothing Mr Stajcic said today changes the facts, that built up over time, that informed the FFA’s decision to legally terminate his employment as Coach of the Matildas.

"The FFA reached a unanimous view that Mr Stajcic was no longer the right person to enable the Matildas to perform at their best — on and off the pitch.

"Coaching contracts generally contain provisions to deal with situations where the Board determines there needs to be a change of coach. They do so by providing for a pre-agreed payment to be made in lieu of notice which is what occurred here."

FFA CEO David Gallop also disagreed with many of Stajcic's comments saying "a change was needed" with a new coach set to be announced in the coming weeks. 

"We are not going to get into a point by point debate that further distracts the team," he said.

"Mr Stajcic knows that the team environment, contrary to today’s comments, was not satisfactory.

"We are also mindful that the people who participated in the review processes, including the surveys and other information gathered, did so on a confidential basis. We will not breach those commitments to players and staff.

"We appreciate and acknowledge Mr Stajcics’ best wishes for the team and the players and it was never our intent to cause him or his family distress. It was a decision based on the best outcome for the players and staff.

"Our focus is on the recruitment of the new coach of the Matildas. We will be announcing the new coach in the coming weeks."