Football Federation Australia today confirmed they had sacked Matildas coach Alen Stajcic after players and coaching staff alleged "workplace culture" issues.
Two anonymous surveys by the Professional Footballers Association and workplace bullying campaigners Our Watch had identified problems with Stajcic's management, CEO David Gallop said today.
The FFA followed that up with interviews with players and coaching staff and decided to act as soon as possible ahead of June's Women's World Cup before the problems escalated further.
"It certainly seems to have deteriorated in recent months," Gallop. "We are in not in a plateau position. We're in a deteriorating position."
The FFA at this stage do not have a direct replacement for the Matildas but felt they needed to act in the best interests of player welfare before next month's series of friendlies in Australia.
"We no longer feel confident that Alen is the right person to lead the team," he said. "The staff will move as quickly as possible to appoint a coach for the Cup of Nations and indeed the World Cup itself in June."
There have been some disquiet for some time among some players over their role within the national team and the minutes some players were getting on the pitch.
But accusations of workplace environment issues will shock many.
The confidential anonymous surveys of players and staff were done in the last few weeks at the suggestion of the PFA to audit all the national teams, Gallop said today.
He said the FFA had suggested the Matildas were the first to be audited.
New FFA chairman Chris Nikou added: "I think ultimately the FFA is defined by the standards that it sets and in this case our guiding principle was what is in the best interest of the sport as a whole.
"We felt that at this point in time to give the Matildas the best possible chance of success in the best environment, it was appropriate to change tack – and that's what ultimately led to this decision."
Gallop refused to discuss the specific complaints against Stajcic because of the confidential nature of the surveys, he said.
"It's fair to say there are workplace issues around the culture of the set up, but it's difficult to get into the specifics," he said. "The survey results are quite recent - only in the last couple of weeks.
"This is not a decision arrived at by the players. It is a decision arrived at by us to set standards in that team and in the set up around that team.
"We've taken in a range of views, not just the views of the players."
There's no indication at this stage of any prior warnings to Stajcic before his summary dismissal.
"The team had already identified that they needed to work on these issues. Indeed there will be a planned two day workshop on Monday and Tuesday next week," Gallop said.
"So that's why things have come to a head."
He added:"We'd like to have a coach in place for the Cup of Nations (starting on February 28). It's a very important preparation tournament.
"Obviously we need someone who can set the right culture, set the right environment for the set up, but also have the technical capability to coach the team and coach them in a way that they can achieve the success that we all believe they can achieve."