'My reputation has been ruined' - sacked Matildas coach Stajcic breaks silence


Sacked Matildas coach Alen Stajcic has broken his silence on his shock dismissal, demanding a comprehensive and independent investigation into the saga which he says has "ruined" his reputation and left his "career in tatters".

The 45-year-old released a statement on Monday responding to his unexpected dumping as coach of Australia women's national team.

He said he was never informed of any of the allegations pointed at him by Football Federation Australia as their reasoning for his sacking and claims the first time he ever heard about the issues was the day before his dismissal.

"The very first time I met with Mr Gallop about these alleged “poor culture” issues were on 18 January 2019, at 9.30am," he revealed.

"Thereafter my employment was terminated the next morning."

The popular coach says he has been left in the dark about the specifics of his dismissal with no explanation given other than the FFA's claims of a poor culture among the Matildas camp.

"I look forward to the search for truth, honour and integrity in this awful saga," Stajcic said in the lengthy statement.

"I concur with others who are demanding a full and independent investigation."

The statement comes three weeks after news first broke of his removal from the Matildas set-up, with Stajcic revealing legal reasons were behind his silence.

Stajcic is considering potentially suing the FFA over defamation.

However, he felt it was important he spoke out now to help protect his reputation due to "ongoing speculation and innuendo" surrounding his well-publicised axing.

"For the record, I wish to state categorically that, during my time as Matildas head coach – such tenure which commenced in 2014 - I have never witnessed, never participated in, and never acquiesced to the participation of others in any impropriety or misconduct relating to players or the Matildas set-up,” Stajcic wrote.

“The explanation proffered by FFA for my dismissal was; i) termination without cause; ii) that no actions or behaviours of misconduct could be attributed to me; iii) the FFA CEO’s assertion that the Matilda’s had a “poor culture”.

“I wish to make it abundantly clear that during my time as Matildas head coach, over nearly five years, I was not made aware, by FFA’s Chief Executive Officer, David Gallop, of the existence of, or the occurrence of, any serious issues of concern within the Matildas set-up.

“In fact, up until the day before the FFA terminated my employment I have only ever received praise from Mr Gallop both publicly and privately.

“I still do not know the reason(s) why my employment was terminated, aside from Mr Gallop telling me that the Matildas had a “poor culture” and I, as head coach, was responsible.

“No other explanation has been given to me in spite of my repeated requests for the FFA to provide me with reasons why it had decided, by 19 January 2019, to take the extreme decision to terminate my employment contract.”

The FFA said the decision to sack Stajcic was based on the results of two surveys completed by Matildas players and staff.

The results of the surveys, one a wellbeing audit from Professional Footballers Australia and a review from anti-domestic violence group Our Watch, have not been released by the FFA who cite confidentially clauses for the silence.

Stajcic is expected to give his side of the sacking at a press conference on Monday, and said the whole situation has left his career "in tatters", his family devastated and his reputation "ruined".

“The events of the last few weeks have devastated both me and my family. My career is in tatters and my reputation has been ruined,” he said.

“My family must now live out this daily drama in the public eye. Reading reports quoting an FFA board director, again without any specifics or understanding of the work we had been doing, has been extraordinarily hurtful. It has only added fuel to this firestorm of speculation.

“Statements that were leaked by this particular board director, which included ‘that he would never work in football again’, have caused irreparable damage. The emotional and mental toll that the past fortnight has taken on me, and my family, cannot be described in words,

“I consider the actions of the FFA to be without foundation and unjustifiable — and the alleged actions of the FFA board member have smeared my name, not only as an international coach, but as a father and as a person." 

Stajcic is sure to be one of the main talking points at the FFA's Monday board meeting, where it is expected they will also discuss the appointment of his replacement as Matildas coach.

It has also been reported that a review of a number of senior FFA staff, including chief executive David Gallop and head of national teams Luke Casserly, could also take place.