Football Ferns coach Andreas Heraf placed on 'special leave' as independent review launched following player mutiny

Under-fire Football Ferns coach Andreas Heraf has been placed on special leave after New Zealand Football announced there would be an independent investigation into the Austrian manager's behaviour and its effects on team culture.

Andreas Heraf says injuries and an eye to the future drove his ultra-defensive strategy against Japan. Source: 1 NEWS

NZF confirmed at a press conference in Auckland this afternoon Heraf would be investigated after the governing body received written complaints from squad members.

An independent investigator will be appointed by the NZF executive committee in association with the NZ Professional Footballers Association to review the environment within the women's national team.

Heraf has been given notice of the investigation with a proposal for suspension but in the meantime is on special leave with immediate effect from both his roles as the Football Ferns' manager and NZF technical director.

"We are very disappointed to be in a position where some of the players from within the Football Ferns have felt the need to formally lodge a complaint with NZ Football and would like to thank them for coming forward," NZF President Deryck Shaw said.

"We hold player welfare as a matter of utmost importance and that is why we are conducting a thorough, independent review. We want to ensure we better understand these issues in an objective review. There is no place for inappropriate behaviour of any kind in New Zealand Football."

After Heraf criticised his players following their 3-1 loss to Japan in Wellington earlier this month, it is understood that at least 10 players have penned letters about the conduct of the Austrian.

Allegations against Heraf include incidents of intimidation and scare tactics while on the Spain tour earlier this year as well as in the build-up to the Wellington friendly, which created a miserable team environment.

Another criticism against Heraf centres on his approach to team culture, saying it was the least important focus.

A senior New Zealand Football (NZF) official told 1 NEWS that some players have said they won't turn out for the Ferns again while Heraf remains coach.

Heraf told 1 NEWS earlier this month critics were not seeing the big picture in his approach.

"We have 360 days to go until our first game (at the World Cup) and we have to work on all these different areas to be ready.

"That was only one step on our way but the people, of course, they haven't seen the whole process, they've seen one game so they're disappointed and upset - I feel sorry for that - but it's a part of our process and we have to go that way."

The review will commence this week with the appointment of an independent investigator.

NZF President Deryck Shaw said controversial coach Andreas Heraf has gone on "special leave" while the investigation is carried out. Source: 1 NEWS



TVNZ FC: Either Pogba or Mourinho has to go, and how did that Salah strike win goal of the year?

The Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho standoff seems to be at a new low, and our panel are convinced one of them has to go from Manchester United sooner rather than later.

But things are brighter at Liverpool, who have six wins from six in the Premier League and seem to be flourishing under Jurgen Klopp, even if that Firmino eyepatch meme is pretty annoying.

They go up against Chelsea at the weekend for potentially their first big test of the season.

Host Jack Tame also asks our pundits Jack Mabire, Victor Waters and Simon Plumb if they can explain how Mo Salah's goal against Everton was voted the best in the world last year. They can't, other than suggesting vote rigging by Liverpool fans.

And in NZ, it appears the Football Ferns' players are rated higher than the All Whites, to a general reaction of "fair enough".

* TVNZ Football Club is also available on the 1 News Facebook and Youtube pages and as a podcast on iTunes and other providers.

Jack Tame and the panel dig deep into all the football talking points of the week in the Premier League and closer to home. Source: 1 NEWS



Watch: Championship side Derby stun United, knock EPL giants out of League Cup

The coaching apprentice got the better of his former master as Frank Lampard's Derby knocked Jose Mourinho's Manchester United of the League Cup.

In a shootout after the game ended 2-2, the teams scored 15 consecutive penalties before United defender Phil Jones' effort was saved at Old Trafford this morning.

The 8-7 shootout loss is another setback for Mourinho, with United already eight points behind leader Liverpool after six games in the Premier League.

But it is a major scalp for Lampard, who is in his first season as a coach after spending most of his playing career at Chelsea, where Mourinho had two spells as manager.

United had led through Juan Mata's third-minute strike that completed a flowing move. But Harry Wilson equalized with a free kick in the 59th and United's problems deepened when goalkeeper Romero was sent off in the 67th for handling outside the box.

Derby made the extra man count when Jack Marriott headed home from close range, a goal that was confirmed by a VAR review in the 85th. Marouane Fellaini came to United's rescue in the fifth minute of stoppage time with an equalizer.

But the shootout failure saw United eliminated from the third round of English football's second-tier knockout competition for the first time in 11 years.

The only other Premier League side beaten by lower-league opposition was Burnley which lost 2-1 to third-tier side Burton.

But holder Manchester City easily beat another third-tier side, Oxford, with goals from Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden sealing a 3-0 win.

The Rams scored a stunning goal before keeping their cool in a shootout to dispose of Manchester United. Source: SKY



Croatia captain Luka Modric claims FIFA Player of the Year award

Luka Modric has broken a decade of award dominance by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi after being crowned world footballer of the year by FIFA, while Marta won the women's award for a sixth time.

Modric was voted FIFA's best player in the 2017-18 season after winning the Champions League for a fourth time in five seasons with Real Madrid and leading Croatia to its first World Cup final where it lost to France.

Messi and Ronaldo have been the only winners of world soccer's main individual award from FIFA in various guises since 2008, both winning five titles each.

Messi didn't make the three-man shortlist and skipped the trip to London. Ronaldo was shortlisted but also didn't turn up at the ceremony to be dethroned in person by his former Real Madrid teammate. Egypt forward Mohamed Salah also made the top three for the first time.

Luka Modric wins the World Cup golden ball award
Luka Modric wins the World Cup golden ball award Source: Associated Press


Liverpool's Mohamed Salah wins FIFA goal of the year award

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah's strike in last season's Merseyside derby against Everton at Anfield has won the FIFA Puskas Award for the goal of the season.

Ten goals were shortlisted for the award, with many pundits predicting a win for Gareth Bale's acrobatic volley in the Champions League final for Real Madrid against Liverpool.

But the Egyptian star's effort, which saw him spin past two Everton players before curling a left-foot shot into the far corner, gained 38 per cent of the more than 500,000 votes cast.

The award, which is named after Hungary and Real Madrid great Ferenc Puskas, was the first announced at the Best FIFA Football Awards in London. Salah, 26, has also been shortlisted for men's player of the year.

He told the audience at the Royal Festival Hall that he hoped to win another prize later in the evening.

France's World Cup-winning boss Didier Deschamps was named men's coach of the year.

The 49-year-old was up against Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic, whose side lost to France in the final in Russia this summer, and Zinedine Zidane, who led Real Madrid to a third straight Champions League win.

Deschamps' win was no surprise, given the focus on Russia 2018, and he used his acceptance speech to warmly thanks his backroom staff and players.

Meanwhile, former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois won the goalkeeper of the year prize, beating Leicester's Kasper Schmeichel and Hugo Lloris of Tottenham Hotspur and World Cup-winning France.

All three enjoyed great World Cup campaigns, with Courtois helping Belgium to a third-place finish.

Now with Real Madrid, the 26-year-old Courtois joked before his award was announced that FIFA should also hand out a save-of-the-year prize.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah Source: Associated Press