Alen Stajcic had directed Australia to the quarterfinals of the 2015 Women’s World Cup and 2016 Olympics. (Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports)
Less than five months before the Women’s World Cup kicks off, Australian women’s national coach Alen Stajcic has been sacked.
Stajcic, who had been in the position since 2014, was given his marching orders Saturday over an “unsatisfactory” team environment, according to the Football Federation Australia.
An FAA statement said a change was needed to “improve the culture” around the squad and the move was based on the results of two confidential surveys.
“We no longer have confidence Alen is the right person to lead the team and staff,” FFA chief David Gallop said.
Buoyed by the standout play by Sam Kerr, the Matildas are ranked sixth in the world and are considering one of the leading teams at the Women’s World Cup, which will be held in France From June 7-July 7.
Gallop said there had been talks with players, staff and other coaches before the decision.
“The surveys, along with other enquiries of players and staff, have led the FFA to determine that the team environment is unsatisfactory and that a change in leadership is required to improve the culture and provide every opportunity for the team to perform to its full potential,” he said.
“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.
“We will continue to review other aspects of the team set-up and monitor the team environment in the coming weeks and months as we build for the World Cup.”
No successor had been named — yet.
As of Saturday afternoon, the 45-year-old Stajcic had not made any comments, but later received public support from Football Coach’s Australia, which said in a statement it will continue to support Stajcic, including “the facilitation of independent legal representation to assist (him) in exploring all available options.”
Stajcic guided the Matildas to the quarterfinals of the 2015 Women’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.
Australia kicks off its Women’s World Cup campaign against Italy June 9, with group matches against Brazil and Jamaica afterwards.