The whispering witchunt campaign of insinuation and slander which surrounded the dismissal of Matildas coach Alen Stajcic must never be allowed to happen again, said Football Coaches Australia today.
The union for football managers spoke out after Football Federation Australia deputy chair Heather Reid issued a grovelling and comprehensive public apology to Stajcic over comments she made in the press and on social media.
In the wake of his shock axing by the FFA in January she falsely insisted there was far more to the dismissal than could be said in public.
The former CEO of Capital Football has since taken a leave of absence from her FFA role, citing personal health reasons.
Football Federation Australia also moved to clear Stajcic of any implied misconduct today with a statement insisting he had only been moved on because they wanted a new head coach for the World Cup.
Their statement today contradicted their story at the time, which claimed the decision had been made urgently because of the results of survey results from players, their families and staff which had exposed a "rapidly deteriorating culture", according to David Gallop in January.
Today however they admitted Stajcic had never breached his contract or engaged in any kind of misconduct and paid tribute to the key role he played in the Matildas' current success.
It's understood both Reid and the FFA published their apologies today to help bring an end to legal action against them by Stajcic over the way his dismissal was mishandled.
But Football Coaches Australia says Stajcic's case is not unique – and action is need to stop any repeat.
“Unfortunately, the nature of this process outlines – in the starkest terms – why Australian football still has a fundamental problem with its treatment of coaches," said FCA chief executive Glenn Warry.
"The blatant and systemic disrespect for our coaches has now reached a crisis point.
“Whilst Alen’s case is the most public example, FCA receives reports of mistreatment on a weekly basis from Australian licensed coaches employed at all levels of the professional and semi-professional game.
"They continue to be subjected to treatment that would be considered inappropriate in any other line of employment.
“Australian coaches deserve much better. It is time to put our foot down and say that ‘enough is enough’ on this most important of football issues.”