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Players deny links to Matildas letter

Date

David Polkinghorne

Melissa Barbieri says the FFA should choose the best person for the Matildas coaching role, regardless of gender.

Melissa Barbieri says the FFA should choose the best person for the Matildas coaching role, regardless of gender. Photo: Getty Images

Several Matildas used social media to distance themselves from revelations some squad members had sent a letter to Football Federation Australia indicating their preference for a male coach to replace the outgoing Tom Sermanni.

Matildas captain and goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri and former Matildas forward Sarah Walsh both used Twitter to say they were not involved.

Federal Sports Minister Kate Lundy was aware of the letter's existence, but did not want to comment on the matter because she had not seen it.

The FFA declined to comment.

Western Sydney Wanderers captain Walsh, who retired from international duties earlier this year, is the second highest goal scorer for the Matildas.

''I had nothing to do with the letter. However very curious as to how it made its way into the media? In Canberra,'' the striker tweeted on Friday.

Now on maternity leave, Barbieri tweeted: ''anyone can write letters on behalf of Matildas doesn't mean it's actually from the Matildas.''

Barbieri also used the social media site to indicate her only preference was for the best person for the coaching job, regardless of their gender.

She stood by those comments when contacted by Fairfax Media on Friday.

Barbieri is passionate about the game and wants the Matildas to be a force at World Cups and Olympic Games.

As long as the FFA appoints someone who can help her achieve her dreams of victory at both, she will be happy.

''As long as your brain and your heart is in the right atmosphere to get us to the next World Cup and win the next World Cup, that's all I care about,'' Barbieri said.

''I want a World Cup win, I want a gold medal at an Olympic Games and it's got to do with your heart and your head and not anything else.''

She said she had not seen the letter and reiterated she was not involved.

Barbieri said she was studying to be a coach herself and it would be counterproductive and hypocritical to request a male coach to take over from Sermanni. She wanted more women involved in coaching at the top level.

Matildas and Canberra United striker Michelle Heyman also used the twittersphere to voice her opinion.

''All this talk about a letter … There should have never been a letter to start with,'' the reigning W-League golden boot winner tweeted.

Heyman has been coached during the past two seasons by Jitka Klimkova, one of the few female coaches in the W-League.

Klimkova was also in the running for the Matildas coaching job and was interviewed last week.

Klimkova burst onto the Australian soccer scene and guided United to its first W-League title undefeated.

The FFA says there is no timeline on deciding on the Matildas coach. However, it is believed a decision will be made before the end of the year.

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