Former Matildas striker Catherine Cannuli says the poisonous debate dredged up after the sacking of Alen Stajcic is harming football's growth in the women’s and men’s game in Australia.
Last month, Stajcic was sacked by FFA as Matildas coach over what was deemed a harmful culture around the Matildas.
A PFA report and an Our Watch survey and other interviews were used as evidence for FFA’s case to terminate his contract five months out from a World Cup.
Today, Stajcic hit back with a statement demanding the truth about his sacking, adding his reputation was in tatters and his family had been devastated.
He also fronted his own press conference in Sydney today (Monday) just hours before an FFA board meeting.
Cannuli, 32, who retired from her playing career five years ago to focus on coaching in the west of Sydney and her business interests, has been one of the younger female coaches who Stajcic has mentored over the last two decades.
She told FTBL that the debate following Stajcic’s sacking was harming the game’s ability to grow in both the men's and women's game.
“At the end of the day, no-one loves women’s football and men’s football. We love football. We’re all football people,” Cannuli, still furious about the sacking, told FTBL.
“Whether you’re a male or female, if you’re the right person for that job it’s about who is the right person for that job.
“If I’m good enough as a female coach to lead our country then I’m happy to take that job.
“This whole situation is going to put a dent into the game with the A-League and W-League still quite young. We need to grow.”
Cannuli added the poisonous debate around Stajcic’s sacking had dredged up issues around sexuality in the game, which she said were nonsense.
Because of the ambiguous nature of the sacking of the Matildas coach, Cannuli argued that such theories had filled the void on social media which has further poisoned football’s culture from within.
“Politics is everywhere in life,” Cannuli said. “But we are here, the majority of us because we love football. End of story.
“We need to put all that stuff aside and worry about the main focus, which is growing the A-League and W-League in Australia.
“Whether you’re gay, straight or whatever, it doesn’t matter. We’re all footballers and football people. Anybody’s personal life is their personal life.
“As long as they turn up and play, and give 100% for their team or country… what their sexuality is has nothing to do with football as an administrator, player or a coach. Whoever you are your sexuality has nothing to do with it.