Controversial Football Ferns' coach Andreas Heraf has made claims on Austrian television that New Zealand media compared him to Adolf Hitler.

Heraf resigned as Technical Director and Football Ferns coach in July following an investigation into the Football Ferns environment and culture.

"From the beginning, you have felt this resistance to foreigners throughout the country. I have to say that very clearly," Heraf told Sky Sport Austria.

"I can prove it and that was the reason why I left the country. The newspapers that massively attacked me compared me to Adolf Hitler, the Austrian dictator. These are things that go too far," he said.


The Herald's Chris Rattue referred to Heraf as 'Austrian football dictator' a day after he resigned from his roles with New Zealand Football. No comparisons were made with Hitler by the Herald.

"This was in reference to what appeared to be a non-collaborative management style and holding the post of technical director and Football Ferns coach in contravention of a FIFA recommendation," Rattue said. "Football insiders believe he had unprecedented power as technical director".

Austrian newspaper Der Standard asked Heraf for more details of the Hitler comparison, to which he responded he 'could not remember'.

Heraf's suspension in June followed the news, revealed by Herald, that 12 Ferns players had written letters of complaint about their coach.

The letters are believed to contain allegations around bullying, intimidation and a culture of fear.

Heraf started his role as technical director in August last year, and by December had taken on the role of Ferns coach. The Austrian was supposed to be in charge of assessing potential candidates following former Ferns' coach Tony Reading's retirement last November, but essentially appointed himself to the role, albeit on an interim basis until the Women's World Cup next year.

He told Sky Sports Austria that he had trouble understanding the New Zealand culture and the focus of participation over performance.

"Many things happened in New Zealand that were a meeting of different cultures. Participation is capitalised and performance is almost nonexistent. For example, the ladies have participated in four world championships and have never won a game. On the other hand, there is this incredible belief and will of the entire population that you can win everything. I've explained to the team and the people that you can not win five or six games in three weeks if you've never won before. It was difficult to understand this culture."