Capital Football boss Heather Reid has described the sacking of Matildas coach Hesterine de Reus as ”quite distressing” in a blow to increasing the amount of women coaches and officials in the game.
De Reus was removed from her position on Thursday after 15 months in charge as a result of Football Federation Australia holding a review into several complaints made by national team players.
Interim coach Alen Stajic will be one of the favourites to take on the gig full-time, along with former Australian women’s coach Tom Sermanni, while experienced American April Heinrichs and Canberra United championship winner Jitka Klimkova are among those in contention if the FFA prefers a woman.
Reid – the only woman chief executive of a state or territory association in Australia – said getting rid of de Reus set a bad example for trying to get more women in the game.
“That’s what is quite distressing for me personally,” Reid said.
”Here we are trying to do our bit to increase the appointment of female coaches who are qualified and based on merit, and yet female players have largely brought undone the career and reputation of a highly competent and professional coach in Hesterine de Reus.
”Women coaching in Australia have been wary for some time and many former players have been overlooked when blokes have been put in for those jobs.”
De Reus was appointed to the role despite Matildas players sending a letter to the FFA before her appointment preferring to have a male coach.
Czech international Klimkova was considered to be the next-best option behind de Reus at that time after guiding Canberra to the 2011-12 W-League title.
Klimkova’s contract as coach of the New Zealand women’s under-17 team expires in September.
Canberra has had two women coaches in the past three seasons – Klimkova and Dutchwoman Elisabeth Migchelsen.
Reid said the key was ensuring the correct support and management structures were in place to deal with any issues immediately.
“If there were complaints about any of our coaches, whether it was Lis or Jitka or previously Ray [Junna], I would expect those complaints be dealt with in a fair and honest manner,” Reid said.
“We would sit down and discuss with the players and the staff and try and mediate our way through this, and I’m not sure this process has been put in place by the FFA.
”We’ve had issues with some of the support coaches, and we’ve dealt with those issues as well as possible.”