Bobby Despotovski has slammed Football Federation Australia.
Bobby Despotovski has slammed Football Federation Australia.

Coach shreds ‘mind boggling’ sacking

PERTH Glory W-League coach Bobby Despotovski has lashed FFA for their decision to sack Alen Stajcic, saying he himself would be fired for being a "bully" under those same standards.

Stajcic was controversially fired as head coach of the Matildas following a series of internal reviews and confidential player surveys.

Mystery still surrounds the exact reasons behind Stajcic's axing, with FFA only saying the veteran coach oversaw an "unsatisfactory" team environment. But Despotovski fears that Stajcic was sacked merely for being a hard taskmaster.

If that's the case, Despotovski says he himself should also be fired because he does the exact same thing at Perth Glory.

"I was 100 per cent disappointed in FFA with how they handled the situation," Despotovski said.

"If that can happen, and the survey is an indication of we're sacking the coaches and the coaches are bullies because they have high standards for the players, then you know what, put me in that category because I'm a bully as well.

Matildas coach Alen Stajcic has been removed from his post just months out from the World Cup. Picture: AFP
Matildas coach Alen Stajcic has been removed from his post just months out from the World Cup. Picture: AFP

"I have very high standards for my players, myself, and the club. So if that is classified in women's football as a bully, then I should get sacked. Simple as that, because I'm no different than Alen."

FFA have been inundated with applications for the vacant Matildas job. But Despotovski isn't one of them, saying he wouldn't want the job given what happened to Stajcic.

"The Matildas is one of the best brands in Australia, and all of a sudden they (FFA) put it in jeopardy," Despotovski said.

"Everybody is a laughing stock now - to the whole of Australia. It's just mind boggling."

 

Meanwhile, FFA deputy chairwoman Heather Reid has taken leave from her board position as she undergoes chemotherapy.

The recently-elected director has been granted approval to take an indefinite break from the position to treat a medical condition.

"Our thoughts are with Heather and her family and we wish her a full and speedy recovery" FFA chairman Chris Nikou said on Wednesday.

Heather Reid has taken leave from the FFA board. Image: Twitter.
Heather Reid has taken leave from the FFA board. Image: Twitter.

Reid was one of four directors elected in November as part of the broom that swept the scandal-plagued Steven Lowy administration out of the sport. However, the new board finds itself in the biggest pickle of its tenure after the sacking of Matildas coach Alen Stajcic.

Reid, a long-term chief of football in the ACT, was reportedly a key figure behind Stajcic's ousting, which came after the board said he oversaw an "unsatisfactory team environment".

Reid denied the accusations and said people "would be shocked" if they "knew the actual facts".

A majority of the Matildas squad, including star striker Sam Kerr, and co-captains Lisa De Vanna and Clare Polkinghorne, have since expressed their personal support for Stajcic.

"I'm just sad. Not just for Staj but for other people that have gone through this," De Vanna said on Sunday.