Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) CEO John Didulica has made it clear that the wellbeing audit conducted by the PFA was never intended to cause the dismissal of former Matildas coach Alen Stajcic.

Speaking to Evenings on FNR last night, Mr Didulica insists the survey was designed to address the evolving environment in women’s football and the transition of players from semi-professional to professional.

“It was never designed to be a performance management tool,” Mr Didulica said.

“It was designed to address the shifting sands that exist in women’s professional sport,”

“Particularly the past two-three years we have seen a seismic shift in the nature of women’s professional sport and in particular, professional football,”

“We really needed to investigate what are the challenges the players are experiencing and what steps can we build into the program to help them navigate this challenge.”

Mr Didulica described the situation as ‘conflated’ after the action taken by the FFA to remove Stajcic who believes that the absence of information regarding his dismissal is ‘corrosive’ as it has cut the strong community bond between supporters and the team itself.

“When people don’t know why things have happened, it can impact on the players ability to react to different situations,” Mr Didulica said.

“Not having a head-coach for a period even for a short period does leave a void, for the players who rely on a coach for counsel, for advice, in terms of the next career move,”

“Any decision that cuts across the bond that exists between that team, their coach and player in particular, there is a legitimate expectation that people need to know why it’s happened,”

“With that sense of ownership comes that sense of wanting to know why decisions have been made.”

The Matildas will begin the 2019 Cup of Nations on February 28 against New Zealand as they still await who will replace Stajcic at the helm ahead of the Women’s World Cup in June.

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Nick D’Urbano
nicholas.durbano9@gmail.com