The damage done by the FFA’s rush to axe Alen Stajcic goes far beyond the destruction of his reputation and career – and even beyond the divide it’s apparently creating in the Matildas.
At least one board member insisted it was followed up as a matter of urgency and the OurWatch survey was commissioned.
The survey was sent out and 142 responses received. However only three of them are said to have been from Matildas, and one from a Socceroo. At least one Matilda doesn't even remember ever seeing it.
The overwhelming majority were from non-playing staff, parents and partners.
The three anonymous responses from the Matildas were apparently similar and used the trigger words like “toxic”, “misogynistic” and “bullying” which were later cited by the FFA.
There was also an incident cited where a coaching staff member apparently used a derogatory homophobic term when discussing sleeping arrangements in camp.
Under the two previous coaches, couples within the Matildas were allowed to room together but Stajcic reportedly separated them.
This rapid escalation compared to the PFA survey was considered to show the situation was “deteriorating" and required urgent attention.
It’s understood the OurWatch survey was passed to the FFA last Thursday and one journalist was tipped off on Thursday morning who alerted Alen Stajcic and again by another journalist later that evening.
Stajcic was called in to face the FFA on Friday morning and confronted by the findings. He is reported to have told Gallop his job was to win matches.
The FFA board held an impromptu Friday afternoon conference call and Stajcic was stood down as Matildas coach the following morning at a final meeting with Gallop.
At the Matildas workshop at Coogee’s Crown Plaza Hotel on Monday, players were reportedly in tears when they confronted Gallop.
Some of the players were said to be incensed that comments they had made in confidence had been used to justify sacking the coach instead of simply addressing the issue.
While a clearly shaken Gallop insisted to the press that afternoon that he had not been asked for Stajcic to be reinstated, there are claims that some players at least did ask him for exactly that.
Gallop’s car crash media conference was, some claim, a result of him realising he had been caught up in other people’s agenda.
In the aftermath, an emerging gulf has divided both those involved and those on the sidelines.
For the most part, media has been split along gender lines, with leading female TV journalists insisting Stajcic’s dismissal from his role was the right thing to do.
Opposing that view has largely been male voices, culminating this morning in former Labor leader turned One Nation candidate and men’s rights campaigner Mark Latham tweeting an attack on David Gallop for using OurWatch to sack Stajcic, pouncing on the gender divide as a misogynistic dog whistle.
The issue has not been helped by growing suggestions this was a pre-planned attack on Stajcic by some factions of the new FFA board.