Favier promises to fix divided Hockeyroos

·3-min read

Hockey Australia chief executive Matt Favier is determined to stay on in his role, believing he can be part of the solution to fix the Hockeyroos' "dysfunctional culture".

Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin made the shock decision to quit on Wednesday night following the release of a damning independent review into the elite women's hockey set-up.

Gaudoin's departure came two months after high-performance manager Toni Cumpston quit after losing the support of the HA board.

Assistant coach Steph Andrews and selector Sharon Buchanan are others who have left the program.

Allegations of homophobic behaviour, bullying, and body shaming have dogged the Hockeyroos since late last year, with current and former players expressing horror at what they deemed was a toxic culture.

HA decided against a public release of the independent report.

Instead, it distributed a statement detailing its response to the review, and also the 29 recommendations from Sport Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport.

Favier said although there had been incidents of body shaming within the Hockeyroos' program in the past, the independent review didn't find any instances in the current cycle, which started after the 2016 Rio Olympics.

As for the homophobic and bullying allegations?

"There was nothing in the review that raised red flags around any suggestion of ... homophobic sentiment towards players," Favier told AAP on Thursday.

"Part of the reason that HA initiated the review in the first instance was the suggestion of bullying, and there was no case of any staff-to-player bullying.

"There is a suggestion that (between players) there were some incidents - the word bullying wouldn't be the correct definition, but certainly some tensions between players from time to time

"Perhaps intimidation might be closer to the truth. But it was reported as isolated incidents, not as any systemic matters.

"The accusations that were levelled to the program, my view is that they were based on previous cycles and/or experiences past players may have had under previous regimes, but not under the current regime."

Favier, who was appointed HA chief executive in June, 2017, said he asked himself whether it was appropriate for him to stay on in the role after the report found a dysfunctional culture existed in the Hockeyroos' set-up.

In his eyes, the answer is a clear yes.

"I really believe I'm the right person to move the business forward and be part of the solution," Favier said.

"We have a great program on the men's side. Participation numbers are running strongly, and I believe under my leadership we've done some great things for the sport of hockey.

"Obviously this is a significant challenge. But the board continues to support me, and until that changes I'm absolutely committed to working with the program and finding solutions going forward."

Assistant coach Katie Allen has been appointed interim head coach, with HA keen to find a permanent replacement within the next two weeks.

Gaudoin had been widely criticised for missing a series of player meetings.

His decision to axe stars Rachael Lynch and Georgia Morgan from the 2021 contract list caused an even bigger storm, with a chunk of the player group threatening to strike over the shock omissions.

A tribunal hearing will be heard within the next few weeks for Lynch and Morgan to appeal their omissions.