Andrew Pragnell: Damning findings released in review of New Zealand Football

Episode of: D'Arcy and Goran

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Oct 3, 201810m
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Andrew Pragnell: Damning findings released in review of New Zealand Football
Oct 3 '1810m
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LISTEN TO ANDREW PRAGNELL TALK WITH D'ARCY AND GORAN ABOVE Damning findings have been released after a review into New Zealand Football, upholding complaints made by members of the Football Ferns about the organisation's conduct and culture. An independent review, undertaken by employment lawyer Pip Muir, included interviews with around 80 people including 12 players who made complaints into the conduct and culture of NZF, as well as Heraf and former NZF chief executive Andy Martin. Muir found the complaints raised by players were "genuine and largely substantiated" and that former Football Ferns coach and NZF Technical Director Andreas Heraf breached New Zealand Football's Code of Conduct, Human Resources policy on harassment, and Worksafe New Zealand bullying guidelines. "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," Muir said. "He offended and humiliated the players and a number of staff." Heraf was appointed head coach for the Football Ferns in December 2017, with no recruitment process undertaken, after taking the reins on an interim basis the month prior. Complaints arose about him in early 2018 following two losses against Scotland. More Ferns complained about Heraf's conduct following a 3-1 loss to Japan in June, after which the coach was placed on 'special leave' by NZF. He resigned with a confidential settlement in late July. NZF were found to share the responsibility having not investigated concerns raised by staff and not sufficiently supporting Heraf when he made the move to New Zealand. "The organisation has not had a dedicated HR role and is suffering from not having that." "While grassroots football and the relevant programmes delivered by New Zealand Football appear to be in great shape, I have significant concerns around the High Performance environment and some of NZ Football's structure, processes and resourcing, in particular in Human Resources and recruitment," Muir said. "There has not been sufficient focus by the organisation on player welfare, particularly forits High Performance teams, in recent years." In her findings, Muir outlined a lack of diversity in the organisation, which had no diversity and inclusion policy for staff. "There is a perception both internally and externally by some that NZF is a boys club," she said. There are no women on the senior leadership team and only 21 per cent of the organisation's employees are female. Muir put forward 22 recommendations in the areas of the Football Ferns, player welfare, NZF structure and process, culture/diversity and relationships with key stakeholders. 11 of the 22 recommendations were based around structure and process, indicating the need for a large overhaul of the governance of the game in New Zealand. In receiving the report, NZF President Deryck Shaw extended an apology to theindividual players who had complained, and undertook to meet with them personally assoon as possible to work through the review findings and recommendations. "On behalf of the Executive Committee (ExCo) 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," Shaw said. "We are committed to working with players and staff to improve player welfare, and torebuild trust and engagement among players, staff and key football stakeholders."\\  

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