Australia women’s coach Alen Stajcic fired before World Cup

SYDNEY (AP) – Alen Stajcic was fired as Australia’s head coach just five months out from the Women’s World Cup, where the Matildas will start as one of the six seeded teams.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) Chief Executive David Gallop told a news conference yesterday that Stajcic will immediately leave the role he has held since 2014, and overseen one of the team’s most successful eras, despite still having nine months remaining on his contract.

Gallop said the decision to fire Stajcic was made on the basis of two confidential surveys. One was conducted by Australia’s Professional Footballers Association and the other by Our Watch – a national organisation which aims to end violence against women. There had also been conversations with players and team staff.

Gallop said while he could not provide specific details because of the need for confidentiality, the surveys had highlighted workplace and player welfare issues.

“It’s difficult to go into specifics because of the confidentiality arrangement around the surveys,” he said. “Ultimately the responsibility for changing cultures rests with the head coach.

“We no longer feel confident that Alen is the right person to lead the team and staff.”

Gallop said the survey findings were serious and indicated the situation within the Australia team had deteriorated in recent months.

“We’re not in a plateau position, we’re in a deteriorating position,” he said.