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Sacked Australia coach Stajcic says reputation has been ruined
Reuters 600px 600px
  • 11 Feb 19
  • Soccer
  • 4
FILE PHOTO: 2016 Rio Olympics - Women's Soccer - News Conference - Mineirao Stadium - Belo Horizonte, Brazil - 11/08/2016. Head coach Alen Stajcic of Australia gives a press conference.  REUTERS/Mariana Bazo/File Photo 691px 444px FILE PHOTO: 2016 Rio Olympics - Women's Soccer - News Conference - Mineirao Stadium - Belo Horizonte, Brazil - 11/08/2016. Head coach Alen Stajcic of Australia gives a press conference. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo/File Photo

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Former Australia women's coach Alen Stajcic says his shock sacking last month had ruined his reputation and called for an independent inquiry into his termination by Football Federation Australia.

Stajcic, who struggled to hold back tears in a media conference on Monday, said he had considered legal action against the FFA and rejected the governing body's assertion he allowed "a poor culture" to develop around the Matildas team.

"I'm here today to clear my name and restore my reputation ... after having spent 20 years coaching the game," the 45-year-old said after reading from a lengthy statement, pausing to take regular sips of water to compose himself.

"In 20 years of coaching, I've never had an issue around the culture of any single team that I've coached, let alone the Matildas."

The decision to terminate Stajcic's contract came after the FFA conducted an internal survey of players and staff, followed by a supplementary review by women's rights group Our Watch.

Stajcic said he had only one meeting with FFA CEO David Gallop for "about 20 minutes" on Jan. 18 before being sacked the next day. He added that his requests to see the survey results or get more information had been ignored.

'NO SMOKING GUN'

"I was terminated without cause, one. Two, there were no actions or behaviours that could be attributed to me. That was the FFA's response," he said.

"And if I could add a little bit to that, I saw a tweet from (FFA) board director Joseph Carrozzi saying there is no smoking gun, so that's all I can say."

Stajcic, who took charge in 2014, guided the team to the quarter-finals of the 2015 World Cup and the same stage at the Rio Olympics the following year.

His sacking just five months before this year's World Cup sparked a media storm and a number of Matildas players, including striker Sam Kerr, expressed their shock at the decision.

FFA CEO Gallop called a media conference days after Stajcic was fired but declined to expand on the reasons behind the dismissal, citing confidentiality agreements.

Stajcic said the resulting speculation due to the lack of transparency had ruined his reputation and taken a toll on his family.

"As a father and as a person who is highly engaged in my community, that has certainly been the toughest part to take," he added.

The national coaches association has thrown its support behind Stajcic and has pressured FFA to review the decision.

"We will fight tooth and nail to get exactly what Alen just spoke about - due process, procedural process, fairness," Football Coaches Australia President Phil Moss, sitting next to Stajcic at the media conference, said.

Australia will be one of the favourites at the June 7 to July 7 World Cup in France where they will face Italy, Jamaica and Brazil in the group stage. The FFA is looking to appoint an interim coach through the tournament.

Stajcic stopped short of saying he wanted his job back.

"For now, I look forward to the search for truth, honour and integrity in this awful saga," he said. "I concur with others who are demanding a full and independent investigation."

(Reprting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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  • Group
  • e
Pts P W D L GF GA +/- Pts
1 Manchester City MAC 65 27 21 2 4 74 20 +54 65
2 Liverpool LIV 65 26 20 5 1 59 15 +44 65
3 Tottenham Hotspur TOT 60 26 20 0 6 54 25 +29 60
4 Manchester United MUN 51 26 15 6 5 52 35 +17 51
5 Arsenal ARS 50 26 15 5 6 53 37 +16 50
6 Chelsea CHE 50 26 15 5 6 45 29 +16 50
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers WOL 39 26 11 6 9 34 33 +1 39
8 Watford WAT 37 26 10 7 9 34 34 0 37
9 Everton EVE 33 27 9 6 12 36 39 -3 33
10 West Ham United WES 33 26 9 6 11 32 39 -7 33
11 AFC Bournemouth BOU 33 26 10 3 13 37 47 -10 33
12 Leicester City LEI 32 26 9 5 12 31 34 -3 32
13 Crystal Palace CRY 27 26 7 6 13 27 34 -7 27
14 Brighton & Hove Albion BRI 27 26 7 6 13 28 39 -11 27
15 Burnley BUR 27 26 7 6 13 29 47 -18 27
16 Newcastle United NEW 25 26 6 7 13 22 34 -12 25
17 Cardiff City CAR 25 26 7 4 15 24 47 -23 25
18 Southampton SOU 24 26 5 9 12 28 44 -16 24
19 Fulham FUL 17 26 4 5 17 25 58 -33 17
20 Huddersfield Town HUD 11 26 2 5 19 14 48 -34 11
*e1 & e2 advances to R16, e3 possible R16
2018/2019 Premier League
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2018/2019 UEFA Europa League
2018/2019 A-League
2018/2019 Ligue 1
2018/2019 Bundesliga
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2017/2018 Serie A
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