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A-League clubs warn of competition collapse
A-League clubs have warned delegates representing world football governing body FIFA that elite football in Australia is at risk of an "impending catastrophic collapse" unless the stalemate surrounding the sport’s governance is settled.
Meeting a visiting FIFA/AFC delegation today, representatives of the A-League clubs presented an agenda extending far beyond the make-up of the FFA congress that has affected the domestic game over the last for two years.
FIFA representatives Nodar Akhalkatsi and Luca Nicola, and the Asian Football Confederation's Ravi Kumar returned to Sydney to begin talks to set up a congress review working group –an alternative to sacking FFA Chairman Steven Lowy and his board and the appointment of a FIFA 'normalisation committee'.
Proposing that FFA be banned from the working group, the A-League representatives suggested it has an independent chair and consist of three state member federations, two A-League clubs and one players' union representative, with special interest groups to be consulted.
In addition, the clubs want FIFA to widen the working group's mandate to include other issues such as FFA's appeal processes and its financial transparency.
On the latter point they have pressing concerns regarding FFA's unwillingness to share records related to the controversial 2022 FIFA World Cup bid.
Furthermore, the clubs have challenged FFA's existence as a 'corporate' entity able to utilise Australian Corporations Law, as opposed to an 'association' as per FIFA statutes.
Overall they were adamant the current landscape of slumping crowds and TV ratings presented an apocalyptic threat to the professional game if the impasse was not solved in the coming months.
A statement from the Australian Professional Football Clubs Association advised "for the professional game the consequences of the continuance of the status quo are dire.
"All critical commercial metrics associated with the professional game are in decline and our ability to arrest that trend is completely blocked by the congress issue.
"Professional clubs stand on the brink of joining the nine club administrations that have already become insolvent in the first 14 years of the A-League.
"There are clear symptoms of a potential impending catastrophic collapse of the professional game in Australia and these can be directly linked to the governance issue at hand."
It comes less than a week after the FFA revived the prospect of A-League expansion, a move critics believe amounts to little more than posturing but for which the governing body says it's committed to providing criteria next month.
On Tuesday the delegation met with Professional Footballers Australia, the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC), referees, coaches, women's football and fans.
Rabieh Krayem, Chairman of the AAFC, which represents clubs pushing for an A-League second division, stated after the meeting that “the good news for our member clubs is that FIFA and the AFC understand that the clubs we represent are a critical part of the football ecosystem, that we are a stakeholder in this game, and we are not going away.”
Image: Western Sydney Wanderers fans at ANZ Stadium.
19th February 2018 - FFA LOOKS FOR A-LEAGUE EXPANSION IN 2019/20 SEASON
6th February 2018 - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PROVIDES $4 MILLION FOR FFA’S WOMENS WORLD CUP BID
1st February 2018 - FFA LAUNCHES NEW ESPORT LEAGUE
13th December 2017 - WESTFIELD MATILDAS AND SAM KERR TOP AIS SPORT PERFORMANCE AWARDS
7th December 2017 - FFA BOARD AVOIDS DISMISSAL AS FIFA AGREES TO LEAD STAKEHOLDER NEGOTIATIONS
17th November 2017 - NEW AUSPLAY FIGURES SHOW FOOTBALL LEADS SPORT PARTICIPATION RATES IN AUSTRALIA
12th September 2017 - LANDMARK PAY RISE FOR WOMEN FOOTBALLERS
10th August 2017 - FIFA EXECUTIVES LEAVE AUSTRALIA WITHOUT NO GOVERNANCE DEAL
16th July 2017 - AAFC BOARD KICKS OF PLAN FOR NATIONAL EXPANSION OF FFA COMPETITIONS
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