Former Football Ferns coach Andreas Heraf 'offended, humiliated' players and staff, review finds

An independent review released by New Zealand Football today into the conduct and culture of the Football Ferns under Andreas Heraf reveals he wasn't adequately prepared for the job.

The review was led by Simpson Grierson's lawyer Phillipa Muir. It included interviews with about 80 people, which also included complaints from 12 players.

"I find that Mr Heraf breached NZ Football's code of conduct, harassment policy, Worksafe NZ's bullying guidelines," said Ms Muir.

"I want to make the point that the harassment was not sexual in any form and it wasn't assault. But it was raised voices, it was yelling, it was intimidation, it was repeated.

"He offended, humiliated some of those players and some of the staff and this has had an impact on all of the 12 players who complained and on a number of staff."

Ms Muir said players and staff members raised concerns with NZ Football managers about Heraf's behaviour after the Football Ferns' tour of Spain in March.

"Some New Zealand Football managers were told of player and staff concerns after the Spain tour, but no action was taken," said Ms Muir.

"I want to make the point that NZ Football shares responsibility for what occurred."

Ms Muir told reporters at a press conference today in Auckland that proper procedures and protocols were not put in place while advertising for the position of head coach of the Football Ferns.

Heraf was announced as head coach in December last year after taking on the interim role as coach in November in a tour of Thailand.

"Mr Heraf was not sufficiently inducted into his role as head coach, bare in mind he came to New Zealand as the technical director for which he was well qualified.

"There was no mentoring about coaching a New Zealand women's team, or about Kiwi performance culture and punching above your weight.

"To the contrary Mr Heraf's direct style was supported by the management of NZ Football to bring about change."

Heraf quit earlier this year, after being placed on special leave.

Chief executive Andy Martin also resigned after the problems came to light. 

In receiving the report, NZ Football President Deryck Shaw has extended an apology to the individual players who had complained, and undertook to meet with them as soon as possible.

"On behalf of the Executive Committee of New Zealand Football we apologise to our players for the conduct of the former head coach of the Football Ferns and failings in the organisation that led to this review. We are deeply sorry that these events occurred and for the distress caused," said Mr Shaw.

Heraf breached harassment policy, with NZ Football releasing their review today into his time as head coach. Source: 1 NEWS


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