21 December 2019

Australian football review confirms no "lesbian mafia" in operation in women's football despite accusations from ex-coach Alen Stajcic

The Football Federation Australia have published results of an independent review investigating claims of a "lesbian mafia" operating in women's soccer.

Former Matildas coach Alen Stajcic first suggested the notion in January after he was sacked over reports his management style was causing high levels of stress and fear within the team.

The accusations were made by the coach in response to his contract termination only five months prior to the FIFA Women's World Cup.

It was reported that Stajcic was blaming the secret culture within women's soccer for forcing him out of his position - claims he has vehemently denied despite broadcaster ABC reporting his regular complaints about a contingent within Australian football attempting to undermine his position.

In response to accusations, the FFA launched an independent investigation into management of the Matildas.

A panel of three members carried out the review, which was launched in August 2019 and the results have now been released.

The report said: "The Panel was asked to consider what processes give the Board comfort that Management recommendations are driven by full and frank disclosure of information and are not based on any personal bias or unsubstantiated claims? To consider this question we used the case study and allegations made in the media of a ‘lesbian mafia’."

"The Panel was unable to uncover any evidence supporting the existence of any formal ‘lesbian mafia’ or that the decision to terminate the Matildas head coach contract was driven by personal bias against Mr Stajcic or in pursuit of other agendas," it continued.

The report made direct references to the media and public exaggeration of the issue, finishing by saying: "Traditional media articles and social media ventilated the notion extensively and the Panel has not been able to find evidence that the FFA took any proportionate action to address the issue nor protect the individuals who were the target of this speculation."

A list of recommendations has now been created in order to create a guide as to good national team governance.

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