NZF apologises to Football Ferns

New Zealand Football has today released the public findings of an independent review into the conduct and culture of New Zealand Football, upholding complaints made by members of the Football Ferns. 

The review, which was undertaken by leading employment lawyer Phillipa Muir, a partner at Simpson Grierson, included interviews with around 80 people including the 12 player complainants, former Football Ferns Head Coach and the former NZ Football Chief Executive.

To view the 'Independent Review into NZ Football: Public Findings and Recommendations' please click here

Ms Muir’s review found that the complaints raised by players were genuine and largely substantiated, and that the former Football Ferns Head Coach had breached New Zealand Football’s Code of Conduct, Human Resources policy on harassment, and Worksafe New Zealand bullying guidelines. 

She also found that New Zealand Football shares responsibility having not investigated concerns raised by staff following team tours and not sufficiently supported the then Head Coach when he came to New Zealand from overseas. 

Ms Muir says that the review, and the findings and recommendations, are wide-ranging.  

“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,” she says. 

“There has not been sufficient focus by the organisation on player welfare, particularly for its High Performance teams, in recent years.” 

Ms Muir has put forward 22 wide-reaching recommendations encompassing the Football Ferns complaints, player welfare and culture, ExCo structure and governance, NZ Football processes, cultural and diversity issues, and NZ Football relationships with key football stakeholders.  

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

“The NZ Football ExCo accepts the report and its recommendations in full and will now focus on working with management, our players and key stakeholders to ensure implementation of the report, its findings and recommendations,” Mr Shaw says. 

“We are committed to working with players and staff to improve player welfare, and to rebuild trust and engagement among players, staff and key football stakeholders.”

Article added: Wednesday 03 October 2018

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