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A-League club owners unhappy at FFA’s visit to FIFA
A-League club owners have expressed “disappointment and frustratration” over Football Federation Australia’s upcoming meeting with world football governing body FIFA – fearing that it will delay a promised overhaul of the FFA.
A statement released by the Australian Professional Football Clubs Association (APFCA) stated it was “disappointed and frustrated” to learn through a newspaper report of the FFA delegation visit to meet with FIFA President Gianni Infantino on 1st February to discuss a range of matters, including, according to an FFA Spokesperson "the process of reviewing the statutes and in particular the membership structure of Australian football".
FFA Chairman Stephen Lowy and Chief Exectuive David Gallop are reportedly set to ask for an extension to March deadline for local reform, imposed by the world governing body to address concerns about the lack of democratic process in FFA board elections.
The move comes four months after FIFA delegates flew to Australia to discuss their concerns.
Currently the FFA General Assmebly has 10 votes with each of the nine State and Territory Federations getting one vote each, while the A-League clubs receive one collective vote.
This process does not allow A-League, W-League and Matildas players to have a say, and with only 10 votes, is the lowest electorate of any FIFA member nation.
On 22nd September last year, Lowy stated that the "FFA would immediately liaise with stakeholders about a ‘road map’ to implement the changes to expand the Congress from the current 10, which comprises a representative from each of the nine State and Territory Federations and one representative of the Hyundai A-League clubs.”
He added that the FFA expected "to implement the changes by March 2017".
However, since that time the APFCA advised that it “has yet to have any meaningful engagement with FFA on the constitutional and governance reform.”
In a statement it explained “we would find it unacceptable if the visit by the FFA Chairman Steven Lowy and FFA CEO David Gallop to the FIFA President either delays the long-overdue reform of the FFA General Assembly, or creates a circumvention of the committed process of engagement with stakeholders of the Australian game.
“It is the APFCA's position that the professional game can no longer be expected to be the major financial provider to Football Federation Australia without fair democratic representation in the FFA General Assembly.
The APFCA also said in their statement they would like assurances from the FFA that the governing body would keep their promise to reform by the March 2017 deadline.
The statement added “our members remain ready to engage in an appropriate process and committed to a March timeline with an outcome that creates the appropriate democratic representation of the whole Australian football family within the FFA General Assembly,
“We would therefore ask the FFA to publicly clarify its process of engagement with stakeholders and for Steven Lowy to publicly reaffirm his commitment to the March deadline he set out in September 2016.
“The APFCA notes that there are two FFA Board seats that should be the subject of an appropriate democratic process under the auspices of a new FFA General Assembly in November 2017.”
Image: A-League action between Sydney FC and Perth Glory. Image courtesy of Damian Briggs Photography.
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