Stajcic will immediately leave the role he has held since 2014.
SYDNEY (AP) — Alen Stajcic has been fired as Australia’s head coach just five months out from the Women’s World Cup, where the Matildas will start as one of the six seeded teams.
Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop told a news conference on Saturday that Stajcic will immediately leave the role he has held since 2014, and overseen one of the team’s most successful eras.
Gallop said the decision to fire Stajcic was made on the basis of two confidential surveys. One was conducted by Australia’s Professional Footballers Association and the other by Our Watch — a national organization which aims to end violence against women. There had also been conversations with players and team staff.
Gallop said while he could not provide specific details because of the need for confidentiality, the surveys had highlighted workplace and player welfare issues.
“It’s difficult to go into specifics because of the confidentiality arrangement around the surveys,” he said. “Ultimately the responsibility for changing cultures rests with the head coach.
“We no longer feel confident that Alen is the right person to lead the team and staff.”
Gallop said the survey findings were serious and indicated the situation within the Australia team had deteriorated in recent months.
“We’re not in a plateau position, we’re in a deteriorating position,” he said.
Stajcic had been informed of the FFA’s decision Saturday morning. He has yet to make any comment.
Australia is due to play New Zealand, South Korea and Argentina in a Tournament of Nations in Australia from Feb. 8.
The Matildas will also face the United States in an exhibition before the World Cup in France in June. Australia is in a group with Italy, Jamaica and Brazil.
Stajcic became head coach in 2014 after Hesterine de Reus was fired following disputes with senior players.
He guided Australia to the quarterfinals of the 2015 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. Australia is sixth in the world rankings.
In July, New Zealand fired its national women’s coach, Austria-born Andreas Heraf, after an investigation sparked by complaints from players about bullying and intimidation.