Football Ferns build for future following NZ Football review

New Zealand Football (NZF) Professional Players Association representative Kristy Hill hopes the Football Ferns can focus on a new era, after a damning review into the conduct and culture of the game's ruling body.

On Wednesday, NZF issued an apology after the review found female players had been "bullied and harassed" by ex-coach Andreas Heraf.  

Twelve players complained after their 3-1 loss to Japan in June and said they would not play for the national team, if the Austrian remained in charge, prompting the review.

More than 80 interviews were conducted during the review process, including with the 12 players who made complaints, as well as Heraf and former NZF chief executive Andy Martin.

Former Football Fern Hill told the AM Show that the main priority was getting the women's side back on track, as they built toward World Cup and Olympic qualifying.

Kristy Hill.
Kristy Hill. Photo credit: Photosport

"The board will have to have their own discussions around what happens at a governance level," she said.

"Not only did the review look at what happened in the Ferns environment, but it also explored into the NZF's policy processes and decision making. That is a decision for the board, but our focus is on the Football Ferns.

"For the Ferns, they haven't been together, so all of our communications have been through e-mail or Skype.

"November is the first time the girls will get together. That is when World Cup and Olympic qualifiers take place." 

The Ferns will face Tonga, the Cook Islands and Fiji, as a part of their qualifying campaign.

NZF is yet to appoint a coach to lead the Ferns, but a search is ongoing.

After his dismissal, Heraf, who was also the NZF technical director, accused New Zealand media of comparing him to Adolf Hitler.

"From the beginning, resistance against foreigners has been felt throughout the country," Heraf told Sky Sports 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."