New Zealand Football Probes Women's Team 'bullying' Row

New Zealand Football probes women's team 'bullying' row

New Zealand Football announced an independent review into its internal culture Friday following allegations of bullying and intimidation involving the national women's team.

Wellington, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 6th Jul, 2018 ) :New Zealand Football announced an independent review into its internal culture Friday following allegations of bullying and intimidation involving the national women's team.

The team coach Andreas Heraf was placed on "special leave" over the allegations last month, while NZF chief Andy Martin quit amid criticism of his handling of the affair.

NZF said employment lawyer Phillipa Muir had been appointed to examine issues including "workplace bullying... and/or other inappropriate workplace conduct or behaviour".

The NZ Professional Footballers' Association, which raised the players' concerns, said members of the women's team, known as the Football Ferns, welcomed the inquiry.

"The players support the review as a necessary step to responding to their concerns and are looking forward to helping shape the future of football, particularly women's football in New Zealand," NZPFA chief Harry Ngata said.

Muir is expected to report back to NZF by the end of August.

Problems first emerged after Heraf defended his ultra-defensive tactics when the Ferns lost 3-1 to Japan last month.

The Austrian said the New Zealanders "will never have (the) quality to compete" with Japan and could have lost 8-0 if he had adopted a more positive approach.

His sentiments caused outrage among commentators and former players -- but more serious allegations soon emerged about Heraf's methods.

The players' association sent a letter to NZF outlining concerns about Heraf, and 13 players said they did not want to work with him any more.

Heraf was placed on leave and Martin, who had initially denied there was any problem, abruptly quit saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Media reports citing unnamed current players alleged a "culture of intimidation" under Heraf, including players needing to ask his permission to leave the dinner table at training camps and being harangued for making "risky" passes to team-mates.

Former player Abby Erceg described him as "delusional" and said the team was going backwards under his leadership.

Heraf, who has also stepped aside from his role as NZF technical director, is a former Austrian international.

Before moving to New Zealand, most of his coaching career had been with Austrian sides at age-group level.

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