FFA to probe complaints against women’s coach
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop says he’s looking into complaints by Australia’s female players about head coach Hesterine de Reus.
Gallop watched the Australian women’s side lose 1-0 to Brazil in the first of two friendlies against the South Americans ahead of the Matildas’ Asian Cup title defense in May.
Australia media reported earlier that players have approached the Professional Footballers Australia union to take action against the Netherlands-born de Reus over her apparent tough disciplinarian line.
De Reus replaced Tom Sermanni, who led the Australian women’s team for eight years before resigning to take over the No. 1-ranked U.S. women’s side in late 2012.
Gallop said national technical director Han Berger, head of national performance Luke Casserly and former player and current women’s football coordinator Sarah Walsh would study the player complaints.
“We will put a report together as quickly as possible,” Gallop said. “At the moment we are getting on top of these concerning reports.”
Media reported some of the complaints include being in a virtual lockdown at team hotels, being barred from seeing parents on overseas trips and general disenchantment with de Reus’ hard-line coaching methods.
De Reus said after the Brazil match she was not aware of the players’ complaints.
“I didn’t read anything, I’m totally focused on the job I had to do here,” she said. “I think it was a good atmosphere ... players were laughing a lot, worked hard on the training field.”
When asked if she would still be in charge at the Asian Cup, she replied “absolutely.”
“It is a distraction, of course,” de Reus added. “But I think we’re all professional enough just to say ‘this is it, close the book, we have still a month to go and we want to defend our title’.”
Dual international Ellyse Perry, the highest-profile player in the squad, has been cut from the team by de Reus, who has said she doesn’t believe the 23-year-old Perry can become a world-class footballer as long as she is playing cricket for Australia.
De Reus took her place beside the players’ bench for Sunday’s match.