SA-BEST seeks Senate inquiry into sacking of Matildas coach

16 February 2019

SA-BEST is asking the Federal Senate to investigate the controversial sacking of Matildas coach Alen Stajcic.

SA-BEST MLC and former TV and radio football broadcaster, Frank Pangallo, has written to his Federal Centre Alliance colleagues asking them to seek the inquiry.

Frank believes the fallout from the Football Federation of Australia’s (FFA) controversial decision is causing irreparable harm to women's football, the Matildas successful branding and to the game in general.

Centre Alliance Senator, Rex Patrick, has told Frank he also intends raising questions on the issue during Senate Estimates next week.

Frank fears the fallout could have a negative effect on Australia’s 2023 Women’s World Cup bid, which has been funded with a $5 million grant from taxpayers.

“What also concerns me greatly is that the preparation for the Matildas 2019 World Cup campaign is being severely derailed by the controversy which isn’t likely to disappear with the event just months away,” Frank said. 

“It could also impact on their performance during the tournament in France and there is a lot of taxpayer dollars deservedly supporting them,” he said.

“In all my years covering football (soccer) at state, national and international level, I have never seen a scandal of this magnitude engulf Australian football.

“Coaches are sacked all the time of course, but the grounds are usually on the poor performance of their teams.

“I haven’t seen a coach removed because of a team’s ‘culture’ alone - which to this point, still remains unsubstantiated.

“The Matildas are one of our highest ranked elite women’s international sporting team. They are number six in the world and one of the favourites for the World Cup, all achieved under Mr Stajcic’s extremely successful management.

“His removal is incomprehensible and illogical as he still has the support of almost the entire team.

“I do not believe he has been accorded due process and natural justice. The FFA has trashed his career and his reputation without proper consultation and due consideration.

“Something is entirely amiss here when the only reason we have been given for his departure was the ‘culture’ - based on two half-baked surveys filled out by anonymous contributors.

“FFA chief David Gallop must provide a full explanation and details of his decision, not remain silent.

“Sentiment against the FFA since its controversial decision is running at an all-time high throughout the Australian football community.

“I am seeing very little support for it - except from the FFA itself.

“So an independent inquiry is more than warranted.

“Going on their most recent practice, I imagine if Mr Gallop and the FFA ran a Survey Monkey poll about their own performance today, they would probably have to sack themselves, such is the level of dissatisfaction with them.”

Frank said that since 2004, the FFA and its state affiliates have received more than $150 million from taxpayers.

This year the women’s football program will receive $1.45 million from taxpayers.

“We need to know how this money is being spent and if it is being done in the best interests of the sport,” Frank said.

“A Senate inquiry has the power to explore governance issues, as well as seek answers from Mr Gallop and other interested parties, including Mr Stajcic.”

Frank will also request Federal Sports Minister, Bridget McKenzie, investigate the issue as a matter of urgency.

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