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CCM W-League


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‘Backroom players cost the Matildas World Cup dream’​

‘Broken-hearted’ Australian players after being knocked out of the World Cup. Picture: Getty Images ‘ND

One of Australia’s most respected women in football has declared the Matildas’ World Cup campaign a failure, blaming administrators who dumped long-serving coach Alen Stajcic five months before the tournament.
Heather Garriock, a former Matildas player who coaches Canberra United in the W-League, said the Football Federation of Australia sent its most talented team in history to France but cruelled its chances by changing coaches and game styles in the lead-up to the opening match.
“What did you think was going to happen?’’ a frustrated Garriock told The Australian. “It was only ever going to go in the wrong direction.
“I don’t put it down to the coach and I don’t put it down to the players; I put it down to the organisation which made the decisions.’’
The Matildas’ exit from the round of 16 in France was the first time Australia has failed to progress to the quarter-finals of a women’s World Cup since 2003 and left shattered a team rated by some as a genuine chance to win the tournament.
It will fuel calls for an independent inquiry into the decision to sack the coach of the celebrated national team.
The Matildas received $1.94 million this financial year in public funding through the Australian Institute of Sport and the Morrison government has allocated $15m to establish a new Melbourne training base for the team.
Garriock, a veteran of more than 130 internationals including three World Cups, is a staunch supporter of Stajcic, having played under him at club level.
She said the Matildas were a “special group’’ set an impossible task in France.
She admires the controlled game style introduced by stand-in coach Ante Milicic, but said it was too big a change from his predecessor’s free-flowing approach.
“It is hard for any coach who comes in with that amount of time to change things dramatically,’’ she said.
“Some players are going to retire from this with a very heavy heart. Everyone’s heart is broken, the fans, the community, past players who have worn the jersey. We are all broken because, of course, we saw it coming.’’
Ex-coach Alen Stajcic last year. Picture: Getty Images Ex-
FFA chief executive David Gallop, in his first public comments after Australia was knocked out of the tournament by Norway, announced a review into the World Cup. This is expected to examine the circumstances surrounding Stajcic’s sacking. No decision has been made on whether it will be conducted independently of FFA management.
Gallop defended the decision to dump Stajcic as coach in January. Gallop recommended to the FFA board, after conducting extensive interviews with players and staff, that Stajcic’s contract be terminated.
It is understood a decisive factor in the board’s decision was Stajcic’s refusal to accept criticism of his coaching and management. Hours before he was sacked, Stajcic described the Matildas environment to Gallop as being dysfunctional and cancerous. He has since reached a confidential settlement with the FFA.
“We believed change was necessary to give us the best chance to perform at the World Cup,’’ Gallop said. “We do not resile from that position.”
As the FFA conducts a post-mortem of France 2019, the board is preparing to hand over sensitive documents on which the decision to sack Stajcic was based.
FFA compliance committee chairman Greg Griffin this month wrote to Gallop seeking access to board minutes, papers and legal advice relied on by the board at its January 19 meeting to terminate Stajcic’s contract. Gallop denied the request, but Griffin said that after further talks with FFA chairman Chris Nikou, he expected to be provided the information.
“We will put the necessary arrangements in place this week,’’ Griffin said.
The Matildas’ World Cup campaign, which came to an end with a penalty shootout in the early hours of Sunday, is likely to be quickly overtaken by more pressing issues within the FFA.
While the national women’s team trained and competed in France, high-level negotiations continued between FFA officials and A-League club bosses over the imminent splitting of the sport’s premier domestic competition from its peak governance body.
The parting of ways between the FFA and the A-League, expected to be finalised in principle by June 30, will strip about 80 per cent of the game’s revenue out of the FFA and reduce it to a modest national sports organisation comparable to Swimming Australia or Athletics Australia.
This in turn will see Gallop leave the organisation after seven years in one of the most challenging jobs in Australian sport.
Although Gallop is contracted through to November next year, the former NRL boss will likely be required for only a short transition period after the A-League split is finalised.
Heather Reid, an FFA director who apologised to Stajcic for falsely implying that he was sacked for misconduct, is under pressure to step down from the board. The focus of the Matildas will now shift to Olympic qualifying for Tokyo 2020.


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With the announcement today regarding the Wellington team joining has there been any news on our application?


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With the announcement today regarding the Wellington team joining has there been any news on our application?
Had a good chat to Shaun about it on the pod last night. It’s not an application per se, it’s more a matter of the league now saying “you’re in, let us know when you’re ready”, and we have issued our letter of intent to enter a team from the 2022/23 season.
Last edited:


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