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FFA clarify Stajcic sacking as director apologises for comments

8:27 AM MYT 31/05/2019
Alen Stajcic Matildas
The former Matildas coach didn't breach his conduct nor engage in any misconduct prior to his dismissal

Football Federation Australia have looked to put a stop to lingering speculation surrounding their decision to sack former Matildas coach Alen Stajcic.

At the time of his axing, the FFA refused to explain why he was shown the door with Stajcic left shattered and rumours left to swirl.

But just over a week out from the Women's World Cup where the Matildas will now be led by Ante Milicic, the FFA have looked to clarify their decision.

"FFA by this statement wishes to make clear that Alen Stajcic’s contract was not terminated on the basis that he had breached his contract or had engaged in any misconduct," an FFA statement read.

"Any inference that has been drawn about these being reasons for Alen’s contract termination is wrong.

"Alen’s contract was terminated by FFA exercising its contractual right of termination by making a pre-agreed payment in lieu of notice. FFA’s decision to do this was reached simply because its board formed the view, following a process undertaken by management, that the Matildas would benefit from a new coach for the FIFA World Cup in France.

"FFA and Alen in the interests of the Matildas have also agreed to resolve their differences and move forward and neither will be making any further comment on these issues. FFA gratefully acknowledges the significant contribution that Alen has made to women’s football in Australia and wishes him well in his future endeavours."

The statement also stresses that comments made by FFA director Heather Reid at the time of Stajcic's sacking weren't accurate with Reid herself issuing an apology.

"I apologise unreservedly for the damage, distress and hurt that I have caused to Alen Stajcic as a professional football coach and long-time servant to, and advocate for, Australian and women’s football," Reid's apology reads.

"I understand that my conduct in making public and private statements may have caused serious damage to Mr Stajcic’s reputation, both in Australia and internationally.

"On 22 January 2019 The Sydney Morning Herald published a story about the termination of Mr Stajcic’s contract by Football Federation Australia, in which I was quoted as saying that if people knew the actual facts about Mr Stajcic’s behaviour ‘they would be shocked.’

"I also, at around this time, sent personal communications to a number of people including various members of the media, in which I suggested that, if the whole truth could be told, Mr Stajcic would never work again in women’s football. I understand also that these communications ended up in the hands of other journalists who have used my words to compound the speculation and innuendo as to the reason why Mr Stajcic’s employment was terminated.

"I withdraw my statements entirely and unconditionally. Mr Stajcic’s contract was terminated by FFA, by a decision of the FFA Board, of which I am a member. FFA elected to terminate Mr Stajcic’s employment contract by it making a payment in lieu of notice. Mr Stajcic’s contract was not terminated by FFA for breach of contract by Mr Stajcic, or because of any misconduct on Mr Stajcic’s part. I accept that I was wrong to imply otherwise.

"I regret making these statements. I apologise also for pain and suffering that I have caused to Mr Stajcic’s wife and two young children."

Since his Matildas sacking, Stajcic has landed on his feet as coach of Central Coast Mariners with the Matildas meanwhile going on to win the inaugural Cup of Nations under Milicic. 

Australia will begin their World Cup campaign against Italy on June 9.