Football Federation Australia's investigation into Alen Stajcic's sacking from the Matildas has been branded a 'whitewash' by critics.
An independent review of the national teams' structure was set up by the FFA to look into the causes that led to Stajcic's sudden dismissal almost year ago, just six months out from the Women's World Cup.
The review was chaired by Diane Smith-Gander alongside former Australian netball captain Liz Ellis and Sydney Olympics supremo Rod McGeoch.
But its terms of references prevented the review panel from speaking to anyone not employed by the FFA - which included Stajcic himself, and may also have included key FFA management figures.
The head of women's sport Emma Highwood had also already announced her intention to leave the FFA when the review was launched, as had the head of high performance Luke Casserly.
The FFA today refused to say who the panel had been able to interview on the grounds of confidentiality but admitted it had included some internal and external to the FFA, despite the terms of reference apparently prohibiting that.
Former NSL and Sydney FC general manager and ex-interim Football NSW CEO Stefan Kamasz was one of those denied a chance to give any input to the review despite claiming to have critical evidence.
"I and others have incriminating information and were not entitled to provide evidence under the ToR," he tweeted this afternoon.
"Even Stajcic wasn’t interviewed. An absolute whitewash. Zero credibility. An absolute disgrace. They should be ashamed as should Congress for inaction."
Kamasz told FTBL: "The outcome of the report was in my view expected given the limited ToR which protected certain people at all levels.
"If the Congress accepts this report without question then it is delinquent in its responsibilities. This is an even blacker day for football.
"This board was elected, among other things, on a platform of transparency and has again failed significantly in that area."
The role of Heather Reid in the decision to axe Alen Stajcic comes in for close scrutiny from the review panel without actually naming her.
Reid stood down from her newly-elected post as deputy chair of the FFA board for health reasons after a row blew up about her allegedly briefing certain journalists and using social media to undermine Stajcic. She later issued a formal apology to Stajcic for her conduct.
Accusations were also aired about Stajcic being the victim of a campaign by a so-called "lesbian mafia" but the review said they found no evidence of a "formal 'lesbian mafia'", they said, or any evidence of a personal agenda being behind Stajcic's sacking.
It added: "Traditional media articles and social media ventilated the notion extensively.
"The Panel has not been able to find evidence that the FFA took any proportionate action to address the issue nor protect the individuals who were the target of this speculation."
But it did also recommend new directors are given detailed information on what is expected from them in the role as soon as they are appointed, and establish a clear code of conduct for directors.
Any breach of that should see directors stood down immediately subject to an investigation, suggests the review.
On the subject of players and management, the report recommends much more player involvement with leadership groups set up that empower the players and involves them in the decision-making process.
It also recommends an overall strategy to deal with intra-team relationships, rooming arrangements and alcohol policies while in camp or on tour.
But it admits the review panel struggled to get help with the report from the players, echoing earlier reports that many Matildas were said to have felt let down that previous information given to the FFA in two key surveys was then used against Stajcic to justify his sacking.
The report adds: "The voice of the athlete must be central to any high-performance program. A sport that can sustain a rich dialogue with their elite and sub-elite athletes will be the better for it.
"The Panel has struggled to hear the voice of the athlete as we conducted this review. Athletes were wary to speak to us directly.
"Evidence is that their voice is not consistently listened to by administrators and those governing the sport. This is particularly acute in the women’s game.
"The irony of this is that the Matildas may today have the best chance of winning Australia’s first ever football World Cup or Olympic medal.
"A move to an athlete-centric model has the potential to create huge dividends for the FFA."
It also criticises outsiders from the playing group for getting involved in the national teams and overshadowing and ignoring the players.
The report adds: "Stakeholders are clamouring for attention and, in endeavouring to gain control of the key decisions that guide the game, have relegated the athletes to the role of bit players.
"This is a dangerous path for Football in Australia and one which must be arrested as soon as possible. Clear principles combined with strong governance, generosity of approach and selflessness are needed."
The report repeatedly stresses the need for equality in all areas, including the same rates of pay for management and coaching/auxiliary staff across both the men's and women's game.
And it stresses the need for rigid guidelines to be set down for management, executives and coaching staff to have their own set areas of responsibilities, measured regularly by KPIs and feedback from players and staff.
FFA chair Chris Nikou hailed the report as the foundation for the game's future.
“This report is a crucial pillar upon which the future success of our national teams will be built," he said.
“This is the most competitive sport on the planet with significant amounts being invested in national team performance by football associations all around the world.
"Our best chance at competing at the highest level on the field is if we put our athletes squarely at the centre of our management strategy."
He added: “The lines of communication and accountability in managing those teams need to be of the highest standards for us to achieve the success we crave.
“This is a shared vision that gives us a roadmap to delivering the best environment possible for our national teams to reach their potential."