Sacked Matildas coach Alen Stajcic says he has considered legal action as confusion continues to reign over his shock sacking on January 19, saying his career lies “in tatters” and his “reputation has been ruined”.
- Alen Stajcic was sacked as Matildas coach after confidential surveys highlighted “player welfare” issues.
- Stajcic says he is still “in the dark” as to why the FFA decided to sack him
- The 45-year-old is considering legal action
In a statement released on Monday morning, ahead of a press conference at 11:00am (AEDT), Stajcic broke his silence for the first time since his removal, revealing that he remained silent for “important legal reasons” and is considering legal action against the Football Federation Australia (FFA).
Stajcic was removed from his position in January on the basis of two confidential surveys, as well as conversations with players and staff.
The surveys — one run by players association the PFA, and the other by organisation Our Watch — highlighted “workplace” and “player welfare” issues.
However, in the statement Stajcic denied these claims, saying that he remains “in the dark about exactly how the FFA arrived at the decision to terminate my employment.”
“I state categorically that, during my time as Matildas head coach, I 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 in his statement.
“The explanations proffered by FFA for my dismissal were; i) termination without cause; ii) that no actions or behaviours of misconduct could be attributed to me; iii) the FFA’s CEO’s assertion that the Matildas had a ‘poor culture’.
“I wish to make it abundantly clear that during my time as Matildas coach, over nearly five years, I was not made aware, by Mr Gallop, of the existence of, or the occurrence of, any serious issues concerning the Matildas set-up.
“In fact, up until the day before the FFA terminated my employment, I had only ever received praise from Mr Gallop both publicly and privately.”
When announcing the termination of Stajcic’s employment, FFA boss David Gallop said that the FFA board, “no longer have confidence that Alen is the right person to lead the team and staff,” after the enviroment within the squad was described as “unsatisfactory”.
Stajcic said that the first time he was made aware of the claims of poor culture was the day before he was sacked in a meeting that lasted “20 minutes,” and that he was offered no information about the contents of the surveys.
Stajcic, who was appointed in 2014 and lead the Matildas to a high of fourth in the world, suggested the PFA report was “materially and hopelessly flawed in its design and delivery,” and questioned who was able to fill out the survey.
Those claims appear to have merit, after several social media users posted links to the “confidential” survey over the weekend, including videos of those users filling in the survey and submitting their responses.
‘My career is in tatters’
Stajcic went on to detail the toll the accusations have taken on the 45-year-old and his family, saying the constant speculation has forced him to speak publicly for the first time.
“This has taken a huge personal toll on my family,” Stajcic said.
“In order to protect my reputation in the face of unwarranted speculation from various sources, I feel that it is necessary I make this statement in relation to the FFA’s decision to terminate my employment.
“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.”
Stajcic also pointed the finger at members of the FFA board for “adding fuel to this firestorm of speculation,” over the reasons for his sacking.
“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.
“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.”
Stajcic also said that he is considering legal action in relation to the above statements as well as the nature of his sacking.
“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.
“I have taken legal advice about these matters, which includes potential action on defamation and the breach of contractual obligations by the FFA.”