Do it at a hasty press conference with little explanation, save for vague mumblings about »a toxic culture» and the allegedly terrible results from a survey conducted by Our Watch, a women’s advocacy group, that have never been made public.
Then keep stonewalling week after week in the face of mounting criticism, frustration and contempt, not just from the soccer public but also the wider media.
The pig-headed way the Stajcic dismissal has been handled — no one has actually gone on the record to offer an explanation or provide a defence or justification of the decision — has shown even less of an understanding of the mood music than even former FFA chairman Steven Lowy used to display.
It’s hard to sheet home blame to two of the board members who were elected only in November: Remo Nogarotto and Joseph Carrozzi had no part in the game for the past few years as they were either living overseas (Nogarotto) or not working in the game (Carrozzi).
Heather Reid, who has absented herself due to illness, is also a newcomer but she is the one many within the game have pointed the finger at, accusing her of pouring petrol on an already well-set bonfire, ensuring it became a firestorm. Reid has denied being behind Stajcic’s ousting.
That Melbourne-based lawyer Nikou survived the boardroom upheaval last year and was elevated to the chair was due to the fact that he was regarded as a non-aligned state during the Lowy years, acting as a facilitator trying to find compromise paths between all parties.
What is so galling is that the mess has been largely of their own making and the way the Alen Stajcic case has been handled is a template for how not to do things.
He looked like a safe pair of hands, but events since he took control hardly inspire confidence.
Nikou needs to put out a statement explaining, in as much detail as possible, why the FFA opted for change with Stajcic.
If, as board members have said in tweets and off-the-record briefings, Stajcic was not guilty of any of the behaviours that immediately spring to mind when an organisation such as Our Watch is called into action, then publicly say so.
The view from the board is that it has been the victim of shoddy management and poor decision-making by its executive team, which allowed the Stajcic situation to spiral out of control in the months leading up to his dismissal and the weeks since.
It seems inevitable that heads will roll there now as they seek to clear up the mess. Nikou’s authority is already being questioned and he needs to be seen to act decisively or his credibility will be in tatters.
That doesn’t augur well for long-serving CEO David Gallop, whose stock within the boardroom appears to be tanking, nor Emma Highwood, head of women’s football, Luke Casserly, head of national performance, and Mark Falvo, head of corporate strategy.
The feeling seems to be that a complete change is needed if the game is to get back on an even keel.
Not that it will be cheap to get rid of Gallop if the board decides he has to go: Lowy rewarded the CEO with a contract extension until 2020, a »poison pill» that will cost the new board at least seven figures if they want to start again.
It’s their call: the debate will be not how much it might cost them to start afresh, but whether they can afford not to — whoever is in charge.
Michael Lynch, The Age’s expert on soccer, has had extensive experience of high level journalism in the UK and Australia. Michael has covered the Socceroos through Asia, Europe and South America in their past three World Cup campaigns. He has also reported on Grands Prix and top class motor sport from Asia and Europe. He has won several national media awards for both sports and industry journalism.