WELLINGTON: New Zealand football boss Andy Martin quit Friday amid ongoing turmoil surrounding the coach of the national women’s team Andreas Heraf, who has been placed on “special leave”.
Martin, who said he was “retiring” to spend more time with his family, has been under pressure for his handling of player complaints about the Austrian.
Thirteen members of the Football Ferns, as the women’s team are known, have said they no longer want to play under Heraf.
Heraf, a former Austrian international who is also New Zealand Football’s technical director, has been placed on “special leave” while a review of the “environment” surrounding the Ferns is carried out.
Questions about Martin’s handling of the issue arose after he took several days to respond to criticism of the coach for having the Ferns play an ultra-defensive game when they lost to Japan 3-1 in early June.
Heraf believed they “could have lost 8-0” with a more positive approach, and said New Zealand, ranked 20th in the world, “will never have (the) quality to compete with” 11th-ranked Japan, the former world champions.
Martin’s reaction was to endorse Heraf and later said it “was a shock” to received written complaints from the players.
Martin was also chief executive of New Zealand Football in 2015 when the men’s team was ejected from the final of their Olympic qualifying tournament for fielding an ineligible player.
When he announced his resignation, he noted that during his four years at the helm New Zealand Football had delivered “some outstanding achievements, under sometimes trying circumstances”.—AFP