FWF-LB-080119

Alen Stajcic

The Minister for Sport, Senator Bridget McKenzie, has told Ray Gatt that she is “aware of the many concerns” expressed about the dismissal of Alen Stajcic and she is “following the situation” but she “accept(s) the decision made by the FFA Board.” Gatt also contacted Sport Australia who told him that a “program on leadership development and team culture” for the Matildas ahead of the 2019 World Cup had started but it was not related to concerns over Stajcic. Sport Australia said that the program “had already been planned prior to the (FFA) decision on Stajcic”. Gatt also points to the 55 questions compiled by Stefan Kamasz, former administrator at national, state and club levels for the FFA Board which meets on Monday. 

The Football Coaches' Association (FCA) issued a statement yesterday saying that Stajcic still does not know why he was sacked as Matildas coach. FCA said it is “profoundly disappointed” at the FFA process in removing Stajcic, saying that Stajcic “remains in the dark”. They say that they are “disappointed” in all of the media leaks aiming to hurt Stajcic's reputation, and that this lack of clarity underlines the importance of a formal grievance procedure for coaches. 

Not surprisingly, Fairfax confines its report to the suggestion that there should be a grievance procedure for coaches who are sacked, and to put in place a process so that coaches do not have to resort to expensive legal action. 

#SaveHakeem campaign

News Corp leads their weekly snippets with the #SaveHakeem campaign, and taking a leaf from our book with some emails and contact details for football fans to “apply their own sanctions”, starting with the Thai Tourism Board (email linked) and Thai Consulate. Other items in the News Corp piece include Markus Babbel's quiet recruitment drive for next season; Pim Verbeek's retirement from international football management, thought to be due to a cancer diagnosis; the shock to the Socceroos squad when they learned of the tragic death of Awer Mabil's sister; and new baby Ninkovic is named Novak ... of course. 

Craig Foster

The Fairfax version of their weekly snippets leads with the idea that the public face of the #SaveHakeem campaign, Craig Foster (many others are working very hard behind the scenes) is abeing considered for the FFA Board as one of the three co-opted directors and suggesting that Foster is the “leader the game needs”. Other items canvassed include potential names for the Western Melbourne A-League franchise, their Chinese investor dropping out some time ago, and the signing of Mary Fowler's brother Caoimhin signing with Cardiff City under-23 squad. 

  • Our photo shows Foster and Francis Awaritefe waiting for Hakeem Al-Araibi to arrive at the Bangkok Court on Monday.

A-League

Ahead of Melbourne Victory's 'Victory in Business' lunch today, chairman Anthony di Pietro says that more Honda's (player, not car) and Toivonen's will come to Australia if there is an independent A-League. Di Pietro says it's important the independent A-League right “off the back of new democratic governance reforms” - clearly di Pietro has a low bar set for the definition of 'democracy'. 

After the suggestion reported on Tuesday by Taylor Regan that former A-League players should consider taking up refereeing, both the head of referees at FFA and the PFA like the idea, although the PFA wants to ensure the former players would be paid enough in making the transition. 

Newcastle Jets, 1 v Wellington Phoenix, 1

A penalty save from Roy Krishna by Glen Moss in the 88th minute, kept Newcastle Jets' faint finals hopes on life support with a 1-1 draw in Newcastle

Gatt wrote that it was “an extraordinary game” ($) with “some of the best goalkeeping of the season” from Oliver Sail for Wellington Phoenix. He said that it is a “mystery” how there were only two goals in the match, with both sides “guilty of appalling finishing in front of goal.”

The result leaves Newcastle Jets eight points behind sixth-placed Wellington Phoenix on 27 points with nine rounds to go. Manager Ernie Merrick said he couldn't fault the effort of the team, but the result “makes the job more difficult”. Same AAP report here

Melbourne - City and Victory

As the season heads towards its final third, the two Melbourne teams have called in the cavalry with both Jamie Maclaren (for City) and Keisuke Honda (for Victory) set to take part in their respective weekend matches. To make the good news even better, Shaylon Harrison (City) and Ola Toivonen (Victory) are also expected to play a part. Melbourne City host Adelaide United on Saturday, while Melbourne Victory host Perth Glory on Sunday. 

Perth Glory

Tony Popovic says the obvious really - that his team deserves “the right to take part in a mouthwatering top-of-the-table clash” against Melbourne Victory on Sunday. Yes, when you win games and you're top of the table - as Perth Glory is, with just one loss this season. 

Sydney FC

24-year-old Brandon O'Neill has signed a two-year extension with Sydney FC, despite talks with some overseas club and a precious European passport in his hand. O'Neill has been part of team that has won four trophies in four years, and is a free signing, but he has opted to further his development in Sydney. 

John Crawley has coached Mat Ryan, Danny Vukovic and now Andrew Redmayne, all of whom swear by him, who says his coaching philosophy is that prevention is better than cure. ”I don’t like defensive minded goalkeepers, [goal] line goalkeepers. There are some goalkeepers that do that and do that well but that’s not my style. I like to develop goalkeepers that are good shot stoppers but are defending the game from as far out as possible.

Western Sydney Wanderers

Markus Babbel says he still has the confidence of the Western Sydney Wanderers Board (uh-oh) and he's proceeding with plans for next season. Babbel is on a three-year contract. Western Sydney play Central Coast Mariners on Saturday.

W-League

Melbourne Victory

Melbourne Victory coach, Jeff Hopkins, says Sam Kerr is not the only danger player in the Perth Glory squad. Hopkins says Kerr and Rachel Hill “combine really well together” and are always a threat. He says they will not take Perth lightly in the cut-throat semi-final, despite having beaten them twice already this season and having earned the Premiers Plate. 

Weekend matches

Friday

  • Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC, 6.50pm local & 7.50pm AEDT, Suncorp Stadium

Saturday

  • Western Sydney Wanderers v Central Coast Mariners, 5.35pm local & AEDT, Spotless Stadium
  • Melbourne City v Adelaide Untied, 7.50pm local & AEDT, AAMI Park

Sunday

  • Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory, 2pm local & AEDT, AAMI Park - semi-final
  • Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory, 5pm local & AEDT, AAMI Park
  • Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC, 6.15pm local, 7.15pm AEDT, Dolphin Stadium (Redcliffe) - semi-final

alen stajcic, #savehakeem, craig foster, a-league, w-league

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