© AAPPosition under scrutiny: David Gallop answers questions after meeting Matildas players to explain why Alen Stajcic was suddenly sacked as coach in January.
David Gallop's position as Football Federation Australia chief executive, along with that of two other senior administrators, is set to be reviewed following the controversial sacking of Matildas coach Alen Stajcic.
The FFA board will conduct an in-depth review into the performance of the organisation's senior management, beginning with Gallop, head of women's football Emma Highwood and head of national teams Luke Casserly. The board is understood to have expressed their deep dissatisfaction with the organisation's handling of the saga during a five-hour board meeting in Sydney on Monday night.
Convening just hours after Stajcic made his first public appearance since his dismissal, sources suggest the new board spent a large proportion of their scheduled meeting discussing how to bring the saga to a resolution and establishing steps to prevent a similar event ever occurring again .
It is understood the board and its new chairman, Chris Nikou, remained sure their decision to terminate the contract of Stajcic was the correct one for the Matildas but were dismayed they were forced to act in such a manner and so abruptly. Sources suggest the board believes many of the issues around the team's culture should have been flagged much earlier and rectified well before ending in the catastrophic events that tarnished the FFA's brand and damaged the image of Stajcic. © AAPFresh questions: FFA head of national teams, Luke Casserly, meets Bert van Marwijk after he was appointed short-term Socceroos coach last January.
It is understood that questions will be asked of the responsibility of Gallop, to whom Stajcic reported directly, as well as Casserly's role as head of national teams, which saw him work directly alongside the Matildas coach, players and other staff members. There will also be scrutiny on Highwood with issues around team culture having not been raised and acted upon swiftly, potentially preventing the resolution of issues that lead to Stajcic having his contract terminated.
As one board source told the Herald: "Every one of our staff will have a performance review because this has trashed our brand." Gallop declined to comment when contacted on Tuesday.
The board will not accept ignoring the circumstances that led to Stajcic's sacking even after it is eventually resolved, the former Matildas coach agrees to a severance deal and a new coach is appointed. Sources suggest the directors want to make significant changes to the operation of the FFA's national teams to ensure there is never a repeat situation.
The lack of transparency and accountability in the actions of senior management was a particular point of frustration for a new board elected on the basis of fixing the organisation's already-blemished reputation on those fronts. The board will be seeking answers on who knew what, what actions were taken and how problems were allowed to fester. It is understood the board will also seek clarity around how surveys conducted by the PFA and women's rights group Our Watch were used as supporting evidence in the recommendation to terminate Stajcic's sacking.
While Highwood and Casserly are set to come under immediate scrutiny, a source close to the board suggested "the jury is still out" on Gallop's future with the FFA and believes a change in leadership could potentially coincide with the independence of the A-League. The formation of the New Operating Model of the competition is currently underway with the framework set to be finalised on March 31. Once the A-League is split from the FFA, there is a belief the role of the FFA will change significantly, with several departments to become redundant and the duties of the chief executive potentially redefined.
The FFA is still yet to reach a settlement with Stajcic over his sacking, having triggered a no-cause termination clause within his contract which required nine months' salary to be paid as severance. The organisation may likely have to offer additional termination fees to Stajcic surrounding the forgoing of other performance-related bonuses from the World Cup and 2020 Olympic Games, in which he will take no part
It is understood an FFA board member met with Stajcic last week hoping to resolve these matters but reached no conclusion. Speaking yesterday to media, Stajcic did not rule out taking legal action against the FFA and has already sought the advice of lawyers and publicists.