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FFA looks to block working group’s governance changes

FFA looks to block working group’s governance changes
August 1, 2018
Legal / Sport /

Sweeping governance changes proposed for Football Federation Australia by a FIFA-backed working group appear likely to fail.

As of a deadline set for yesterday the eight-member congress review working group submit their document to the world governing body on how FFA's membership should be expanded to comply with FIFA statutes.

Once approved, FIFA will direct the group's proposal be adopted at an FFA Special General Meeting by 7th September.

However, it is understood a furious late lobbying effort from FFA has all but ensured the working group's changes will be blocked if they go to a vote.

An amendment to FFA's constitution is required to pass the changes, which means 75% of the current 10-member congress must vote in favour.

FFA has reportedly convinced Capital Football and Football Federation Northern Territory to vote against it, and they are believed to be supported by at least one other state federation.

Those three votes are enough to block the changes.

FFA's position, and that of the state federations backing the national body, is that the working group's recommendations would tip the balance of power too far in the favour of A-League clubs, putting at risk the proportion of funding currently allocated to grassroots football and youth national teams.

FFA is also unhappy that the structure of the congress working group does not account for the views of the state federations who are not part of it.

However, as reported by SBS, a source from inside the working group said the content of its report to FIFA was such that there would be no obvious basis for a state federation to oppose it.

Should the group's proposal not be adopted, FIFA still has the option to step in and undertake the management of football in Australia through a ‘normalisation committee’.

FIFA had the opportunity to sack Chairman Steven Lowy and FFA's board and install a normalisation committee in November 2017 when the last deadline for governance change was not met.

It chose instead to establish the congress review working group in a last-ditch attempt to force a diplomatic solution.

While the appointment of a normalisation committee would appear to be a likley step, the FFA might counter that with potential legal action.

Alternatively, suspension from FIFA would have drastic consequences for the sport in Australia and potentially the Socceroos' defence of their Asian Cup title in January.

This latest dispute between the FFA and its stakeholders comes at a time when collaboration between FFA and the clubs is at its highest point in the last few years.

Other working groups have been formed and are operating cordially to discuss topics such as marquee players, a new collective bargaining agreement for players and the feasibility of a national second division.

But while executives in those two camps might be on good terms, the relationships between Lowy and the A-League club owners remains strained.

Image: The Socceroos win at the 2015 Asian Cup.

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2nd May 2018 - FFA announces new General Manager Commercial Development appointment

4th April 2018 - Independent chairperson to lead FFA reform

30th March 2018 - Clubs unhappy at lack of FFA consultation over A-League expansion plans

29th March 2018 - FFA moves to add two new clubs to A-League competition

21st January 2018 - Revelations from former FFA Executive set to reopen 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup hosting controversy

7th December 2017 - FFA Board avoids dismissal as FIFA agrees to lead stakeholder negotiations

30th November 2017 - Reform model rejected at FFA Congress: potential that FIFA will administer football in Australia


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