The integrity of the PFA Wellbeing Audit, which was one of the factors used as the rationale for sacking Matildas coach, Alen Stajcic, has been called into question by the discovery yesterday afternoon of the survey online. It was taken down approximately 20 minutes after a tweet pointing to the link.

Headlined the '2018 PFA Matildas Wellbeing Audit', it states that “FFA and PFA have a shared commitment to ensuring National Team players have access to world class support services and programs on and off the pitch.

The introduction notes that the survey is to be “de-identified ... for the purpose of improving support services and enhancing the environment.” Players are also informed that they have access to confidential counselling services with the contact details of the PFA Player Development Manager and Lifeline included.

The questions asked on the survey included the extent to which players felt “nervous”, “calm” or “hopeless” in the preceding four weeks; whether they get sufficient sleep; how supportive the team environment is; whether they would seek support if they felt they needed it; and their experiences with the Matildas. The questions were devised by the PFA, the Matildas' psychologist, and a Canberra-based FFA Player Development Manager who has worked with the FFA for seven years, prior to which he was a high school maths, science and sports teacher. The PFA told Football Today that the Wellbeing Audit “was designed as a high-performance tool to empower staff and players to enhance their environment leading into and beyond the World Cup”.

Although the survey was supposedly “de-identified”, it was completed on 5 November by the Matildas in camp for the Chile matches on 10 and 13 November.

The PFA also sent the survey to players not in the Chile squad or those who are not a current contracted Matildas' player. They were asked to complete the survey by 8 November, and that they be informed when participants had completed it.

The fact that the survey was completed by the Matildas in camp in November, and was also sent to former Matildas around the same time, should raise more questions for the FFA Board when they meet tomorrow around the pathology of events that led to Stajcic's sacking, and who or what was driving them. The fact that that the Wellbeing Audit was also still live online, using the Survey Monkey tool and without any password protection, until at least 2.30pm AEDT yesterday (more than three months later) is also of concern in light of earlier statements about its confidentiality. 

The separate, follow-up Our Watch survey was forwarded widely to FFA staff and men's and women's national team players and staff towards the end of November, after the election of the new Board. The Daily Telegraph reported yesterday that the Our Watch survey was completed by 237 staff, 142 of whom said they were associated with national teams.

In the more than three weeks since the announcement of the Stajcic dismissal, questions have continued to swirl around about the why, who and how of the decision, in the absence of an adequate explanation from the FFA. The discovery of this Audit raises yet more questions: Who was the survey sent to? Who sent it out? Who else had access to it? How many people completed it? Who compiled the results and report within the PFA? Who quality-checked the report before providing it to FFA? Who within FFA thought the results were alarming enough to move so rapidly to Our Watch, and then to terminating Stajcic, on the basis of this Audit? And, as we have previously mentioned, why can't the report be made public (with appropriate redactions)?

Soon after the link was shared by us on social media on Saturday afternoon, some people completed it online sharing images of their completed responses, with one member of #SokkahTwitter going so far as to making a video of it.


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alen stajcic, ffa board, ffa governance, matildas, pfa

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