Sacked Australian women’s football coach Alen Stajcic threatened legal action against the game’s governing body Monday, saying his career was “in tatters” following his still unexplained dismissal.
“My career is in tatters and my reputation has been ruined,” an emotional Stajcic told reporters in Sydney as he spoke for the first time since he was dumped last month.
“I still do not know the reasons why my employment was terminated aside from (FFA chief David) Gallop told me that the Matildas had a poor culture and I, as head coach, was responsible,” he said.
Football Federation Australia dismissed Stajcic in mid-January just months before the World Cup, citing concerns over “workplace” and “player welfare” issues surfaced following two confidential surveys about the team environment and culture.
Gallop has refused to give a detailed explanation about Stajcic’s termination, other than saying it was not just based on the surveys but also on a “range of reasons and a range of information”.
Stajcic, 45, said the FFA also added that he was terminated “without cause” and that “no actions of misbehaviour or misconduct could be attributed to me”.
“I’ve taken legal advice about these matters which includes potential action on defamation and breach of contractual obligations by the FFA,” he said.
“I’m here today to clear my name… and I’m here to repair what I can of my reputation after having spent 20 years coaching the game.”
There have been calls for an investigation into the dismissal, and Stajcic backed them, adding that there has been a lack of clarity, transparency and due process from the FFA.
Several Matildas players took to social media after his removal, saying they were shocked, shattered and disappointed.
Stajcic, who took over as head coach in 2014, guided the Matildas to as high as fourth in the FIFA world rankings in one of their most successful eras.
The FFA are looking to appoint a new coach before the Cup of Nations tournament on home soil ahead of the World Cup.
Gallop initially said a new coach would be named within two weeks, but there have been no announcements, and local media reported Monday that the FFA was now looking overseas for a replacement.
The Cup of Nations will see the Matildas take on Argentina, South Korea and New Zealand in late February and early March.
The women’s World Cup takes place in France in June and July.