Controversial Football Ferns manager Andreas Heraf has spoken for the first time since being placed on special leave last month, saying New Zealand's women players prefer to focus on having fun instead of professionalism and high standards.
Heraf, who had 13 written complaints about him submitted to NZ Football by players last month, told Austrian newspaper Der Standard that the Football Ferns rejected his style.
"The players oppose my European style, with high standards and high expectations of professionalism, and prefer a fun and family culture with a focus on making fun videos and opening up to social networking.
"It's not a problem for me, fun culture and professionalism is not mutually exclusive if you say that we are 100 per cent committed to what we agreed to do, just as the players pretended to be in tactics, I told them that it would not be possible to have a say in the preparation and composition of the supervisor staff.''
NZ Football has launched an independent review into allegations of bullying and intimidation by Heraf, and told 1 NEWS they wouldn't comment about these latest comments until the review was completed.
Heraf told Der Standard there was a ''large-scale conspiracy'' and he was sure he could clear up the allegations, saying they had come "out of thin air".
He also said he wants to remain in his role as manager of the team.
"Some people wrote in the letter that they would not be available [to play for the Football Ferns if Heraf stayed as coach] under these circumstances, you have to take note of that, but I would talk to everyone again and try to change their minds, and I assume that too this thing is cooked hotter than it is eaten.''
NZ Football chief executive Andy Martin quit late last month, in the wake of the allegations.