Matilda players Kyah Simon and Chloe Logarzo have reacted with disappointment to the news that head coach Alen Stajcic has been sacked after an internal review into the team’s culture.
The announce comes as the team positions itself as a title challenger in the Women’s World Cup in June.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) chief executive David Gallop announced the decision, which came after confidential surveys were conducted by the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) and women’s rights group Our Watch.
Internal discussions were also carried out involving players, staff and coaches.
Mr Gallop said the confidential surveys had uncovered “workplace culture” and “welfare” issues. He rejected the possibility that this is football’s #MeToo moment.
“No, as I said, it relates to workplace culture, workplace environment, the general set up of the Matildas and our confidence in where they’re at just months out from the World Cup,” he said in response to questions from journalists in Sydney on Saturday.
While some players have opted to remain silent on social media, other current and former players expressed their opinion.
Meanwhile, former Matilda Joey Peters said she was glad “this was being investigated”.
Football Coaches Australia President Phil Moss said he looks forward to the FFA honouring “all of its contractual commitments” after Mr Stajcic’s contract termination.
“Alen is a valued member of FCA and will receive our full support during this difficult period. We look forward to FFA honouring all of its contractual commitments,” he said in a statement.
Stajcic has been terminated and will serve the remaining nine months notice period stripped of his coaching duties.
The Football Coaches Australia said Stajcic is considering his legal options.
Earlier in the day, Mr Gallop said the FFA was looking to appoint an interim coach before the Cup of Nations.
“We no longer feel confident that Alen is the right person to lead the team and the staff,” he said at a press conference on Saturday.
“We will move as quickly as possible to appoint a coach for the Cup of Nations and the preparation for the World Cup in June and July. We thank Alen for his efforts.”
Stajcic took over the Matildas top job in 2014 when Hesterine de Reus was sacked after players made complaints about her strict coaching style and the ‘lack of a team environment’.
He has since guided Australia through what some have described as the team’s most successful period which has included runs to the quarter-finals of the 2015 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, as well as reaching fourth place on the FIFA World Rankings.