Football Ferns head coach Jitka Klimková to ‘stand aside’ for Paris Olympics

NZ Football have announced Football Ferns head coach Jitka Klimková will not lead the national team at the Olympic Games in Paris.

The national body’s full statement reads:

“Jitka Klimková, in consultation with New Zealand Football, has opted to stand down from her role as head coach of the Ford Football Ferns for the upcoming Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.

“The decision comes following conclusion of an independent workplace employment investigation which cleared Klimková to lead the team at Paris 2024, however, in consultation with New Zealand Football, Klimková has taken the view that due to concerns in relation to the team environment, her wellbeing, and a restorative process having not been completed, it would not be the right time for her to return.

“In her absence, assistant coach Michael Mayne will act as head coach for the games and will be bringing in additional support staff to ensure the team are equipped to perform on the global stage.”

Main photo: Jitka Klimková … to ‘stand aside’ for the Olympic Games.


May 26, 2024

NZ Football announced Klimková had chosen to take a leave of absence from her role while an employment-related matter was independently investigated.

In her absence, assistant coach Michael Mayne would act as head coach for the Ferns’ two games against Japan in Spain, played in early June.

READ MORE: Ferns coach Jitka Klimková takes leave of absence while investigation underway >>>>

June 8, 2024

NZ Football released a statement, saying Klimková would return to work with immediate effect after the conclusion of the independent investigation.

“With the investigation, commissioned by New Zealand Football and carried out by an independent workplace investigator, now concluded, Klimková will return with immediate effect,” the statement said.

READ MORE: Jitka Klimková returns to role after completion of workplace investigation >>>>

June 20, 2024

RNZ News reported NZ Football had called in independent facilitators in a bid to repair rifts in the Ferns team.

The broadcaster reported it had received a leaked letter from NZ Football chief executive Andrew Pragnell to players, inviting them and team management to take part in a “restorative process” in an effort to “build or rebuild constructive relationships”.

“There are many people in the environment who want [to be] working towards a more cohesive and high performance environment that is founded on high trust,” Pragnell wrote in the letter, according to RNZ.

“Despite the work the team and staff have put into this area over the past nine months there is still further work to be done. To that end NZF and NZPFA [NZ Professional Footballers’ Association] have agreed to providing a restorative process with trained independent facilitators to assist in building relationships with some players and staff.”

The process was voluntary, the letter said.

“A restorative process seeks to build or rebuild constructive working relationships. This first stage of a process would be the facilitators having preliminary meetings, with people who are interested, on an individual and confidential basis,” the letter stated.

“This meeting would be a chance for the facilitators to explain these principles, to hear about your experience and perspective and to explore with you what type of process may meet your needs and be a safe, respectful and accessible process for you.”

READ MORE: Leaked letter to Football Ferns players reveals a ‘restorative process’ is underway >>>>

Olympic Games

New Zealand’s Football Ferns will play group games against hosts France, holders Canada and Colombia at the Paris Olympics.

The tournament will be held from July 24 – August 10, 2024.


Games to be played on Friday July 26, 2024 (NZT)

Canada v New Zealand
Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne, 3am (NZT)

France v Colombia
Stade de Lyon, Décines-Charpieu, 7am (NZT)

Games to be played on Monday July 29, 2024 (NZT)

New Zealand v Colombia
Stade de Lyon, Décines-Charpieu, 3am (NZT)

France v Canada
Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne, 7am (NZT)

Games to be played on Thursday August 1, 2024 (NZT)

New Zealand v France
Stade de Lyon, Décines-Charpieu, 7am (NZT)

Colombia v Canada
Stade de Nice, Nice, 7am (NZT)

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