Football Ferns coach Andreas Heraf has been placed on leave as an independent investigation is launched into the Football Ferns environment
13 Ferns players have written letters of complaint to New Zealand Football around the conduct and behavior of Heraf, and as a result, Heraf is on special leave with immediate effect from his roles until the completion of the necessary employment processes.
Heraf has been given a notice of investigation with a proposal for suspension, with an independent investigator to be appointed by the New Zealand Football Executive Committee, in association with the NZ Professional Footballers Association (NZPFA), to review the Football Ferns environment.
New Zealand Football confirmed they received a letter from the NZPFA on Monday with a number of complaints from the players of the Football Ferns, while another letter followed from a previous staff member, causing NZF to put Heraf on leave.
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"We are very disappointed to be in a position where some of the players from within the Football Ferns have felt the need to formally lodge a complaint with NZ Football and would like to thank them for coming forward," said New Zealand Football President Deryck Shaw.
"We hold player welfare as a matter of utmost importance and that is why we are conducting a thorough, independent review. We want to ensure we better understand these issues in an objective review. There is no place for inappropriate behaviour of any kind with New Zealand Football.
"New Zealand Football has clear policies and procedures to protect the welfare of staff and players. We are focused on creating an environment which gives the Football Ferns, and all of our national teams, the best chance of winning on the world stage."
The review will commence this week with the appointment of the independent investigator. The terms of reference under which the investigator is engaged, and the individual appointed to conduct the investigation, will be signed off by the NZPFA.