Matthew Theunissen is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Football coach sacked for poor performance awarded $10k compensation

Former Waitakere United coach Brian Shelley. Photo / Getty Images
Former Waitakere United coach Brian Shelley. Photo / Getty Images

A top Auckland football coach sacked after just three weeks due to his team's performance has been awarded $10,000 compensation.

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) found that Brian Shelley was unjustifiably dismissed from his role as head coach at Waitakere United Incorporated in November last year.

Shelley, a former Irish player, was dismissed after the team lost to WaiBop United - a much lower-ranked team.

The ERA heard that Shelley had been unaware that his job was on the line when he was called in for a meeting with club bosses.

"If the club was not satisfied with Mr Shelley's performance then they had the opportunity to take steps to deal with those issues, as other employers do," the ERA decision said.

"I do not accept that the club was entitled to effectively dismiss without going through any type of warning or performance management or improvement process."

The club's position was that it had expected Shelley to resign because of the "football tradition" of coaches "falling on their swords" if their team performed badly.

"Whilst it might well have been reasonable for him to expect that serious discussion about the team's performance would be involved, I do not accept that this was sufficient warning to him that his job was in jeopardy."

The ERA heard that Shelley was "devastated and hurt" by his treatment and had become depressed and disillusioned with the game he had played his whole life.

"He has completely lost his confidence as a coach and has not been able to put himself back in the coaching environment."

The ERA accepted that the club had been concerned with how its premier team was performing at the start of the season.

"The win, draw or lose nature of football games does bring a team's performance into sharp relief," its decision said. "However, equally there is more to a team's performance than just the coach."

It found that there were a number of "significant procedural defects" in its dismissal of Shelley and awarded him $10,000 compensation.

- NZ Herald

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