Inquiry into Stajcic sacking ruled out as Milicic names first Matildas squad

first_imgShare on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on WhatsApp Share on LinkedIn Women’s football Topics Australia sport “You don’t change your coach without good reason,” said Gallop, who acknowledged it has been a “challenging few weeks” for those involved, not least Stajcic. “We felt a change was necessary. That was a hard decision but sometimes that’s what is necessary.“It’s been difficult. There are good legal and ethical reasons we took the approach we did. That’s been difficult for people and we accept that.”Milicic, who earlier played it safe and named a business-like 23-woman squad for the upcoming Cup of Nations featuring few changes from his predecessor’s group, said he is comfortable in his new role and was now looking forward to concentrating on on-pitch matters.Asked whether he had been briefed on the cultural problems cited by Football Federation Australia that led to the dismissal of Stajcic, Milicic said he could not change what had happened prior to him taking on the role.“It happened in the past,” he said. “I’m moving forward. I have no hesitation we’ll be working together on our focus: doing well at a World Cup.”Gallop has found himself under increasing pressure in the fallout from Stajcic’s sudden sacking and while the decision itself will not be reviewed, the way FFA’s top brass – including Gallop and head of national performance Luke Casserly – handled the situation will. “I’m fully committed to the role. Week-in, week-out you are in a position where what you do is reviewed,” he said. “We’re all used to that. Luke included.”Earlier, Milicic said Australia can win the World Cup, and that he had Stajcic’s blessing to take the team forward after their most acrimonious chapter.Stajcic was axed last month by FFA, which installed long-term Socceroos right-hand man Milicic in the role after a fast-tracked selection process. Milicic is yet to speak to his team, and will do so on Saturday as the side assembles for three friendly matches on home soil beginning next week.Speaking publicly for the first time since his appointment, Milicic was allowing himself to dream of what might be possible in June’s World Cup; but only if he and his team put in the work.“Of course we can win it,” Milicic told Fox Sports News. “Our best record so far has been the quarter-finals. Let’s not look further than the first game [against] Italy, that will be disrespectful to the other teams. There are quite a few countries that will feel they can go all the way to the final. We need to be as best prepared as possible, which I know we will be.”Milicic’s first act in his new role was to announce his squad for the upcoming Cup of Nations. Hayley Raso was the headline inclusion as Milicic barely ruffled a feather with his selections, leaving out Michelle Heyman but retaining the key names of the Stajcic era.Steph Catley, Aivi Luik and Eliza Campbell are back after missing November’s series against Chile. Raso should enjoy a rapturous return to the national team after recovering from a broken back suffered on club duty last year.There is also a place for Sydney FC’s W-League championship-winning captain Teresa Polias, who returns to the squad after four years away. Melbourne Victory defender Tiegen Allen, a strong performer on the team’s run to an unlikely premiership, is also back after three years.Milicic’s primary job will be to restore order to the set up, rocked by Stajcic’s departure. FFA removed Stajcic just four months before the World Cup after their investigations suggested a significant portion of the team believed a toxic culture existed. Other players were utterly distraught at the decision and FFA’s handling of the situation.Asked about a rumoured split in the Matildas dressing room, Milicic, said: “I go back to the fact it is in the past and we have to move forward. Coaches come and go. My job is to focus on what is in front of me and what I can control.”Milicic and Stajcic have a shared history in the game dating back 30 years when they played alongside each other in junior NSW sides. Milicic said they had shared text messages and their relationship would be “very professional”. Pressed as to whether Stajcic gave his support, Milicic said “yeah”.“I think we both sit very comfortable with it,” he said. “[In] this industry as a coach these things happen and you’ve quickly got to move on.”Matildas squad: Mackenzie Arnold, Eliza Campbell, Lydia Williams; Tiegen Allen, Laura Alleway, Ellie Carpenter, Steph Catley, Alanna Kennedy, Clare Polkinghorne, Gema Simon; Tameka Butt, Alex Chidiac, Elise Kellond-Knight, Chloe Logarzo, Aivi Luik, Teresa Polias, Emily van Egmond; Lisa De Vanna, Caitlin Foord, Emily Gielnik, Princess Ibini, Sam Kerr, Hayley Raso. Women’s World Cup Matildas Read more The specifics of the controversial sacking of Alen Stajcic are still unknown – and are likely to remain so – after David Gallop insisted his and new coach Ante Milicic’s focus is steadfastly on the upcoming World Cup and not the turbulent past few weeks that have rocked the women’s game in Australia.Gallop confirmed Football Federation Australia would not conduct an inquiry into the decision to dismiss Stajcic, despite the former coach’s calls for a review to be undertaken, as he and Milic faced the media in Brisbane for the first time since the former Socceroos assistant took the job.FFA chief executive Gallop also insisted the decision to terminate the employment of Stajcic was not taken lightly and that there were “clear legal and professional reasons” for the lack of clarity over it. 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