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Australian women’s coach sacked ahead of football World Cup

Melbourne (AFP) – Australia’s women’s football coach Alen Stajcic was sacked Saturday just months out from the World Cup amid concerns over “workplace” and “player welfare” issues. 

The move comes despite guiding the Matildas to as high as fourth in the FIFA world rankings in one of their most successful eras since being appointed in 2014.

Football Federation Australia chief David Gallop said he had lost faith in Stajcic.

“The ultimate responsibility for driving change and leading a high-performance environment that puts the team in the best possible position to achieve what they are capable of, rests with the head coach,” he said. 

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

The women’s World Cup takes place in France in June and July, while Australia are due to play New Zealand, South Korea and Argentina on home soil in the Tournament of Nations from February 8.

Gallop cited two recently conducted confidential FFA surveys to evaluate the standard of the team environment and culture. 

This included a “wellbeing audit” as well as a “gender equality culture survey”.

He said the results, along with interviews with players and staff, had led FFA to determine that the team environment was “unsatisfactory” and change was needed.

No specific details of the problems were given.

“FFA is committed to providing the best possible environment for the Matildas and this change is being made with that objective in mind,” he said. 

“We will continue to review other aspects of the team set-up and monitor the Matildas environment in the coming weeks and months as we build for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.”

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