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Reform model rejected at FFA Congress: potential that FIFA will administer football in Australia
Football Federation Australia's proposed reform of its Congress model has been rejected by member associations today in Sydney.
The final resolution at the Annual General Meeting of the Football Federation Australia (FFA) to create a new governance model was voted down, which means world football governing body FIFA may now be required to take over the running of the game in Australia.
The FFA's proposed new governance model required a 75% majority to expand the FFA Congress, but only seven of the 10 voting members, inclduing seven of the nine state federations, voted in favour of FFA's proposal
A-League clubs along with the NSW and Victoria state federations voted against FFA's preferred model.
In a statement, FFA Chairman Steven Lowy said the FFA would now formally communicate the outcome to FIFA, which, after lengthy delays by the FFA, had set today as the deadline on which to agree on expansion of the Congress.
Lowy advised "those who voted against progress today are those who want to take the game back to the bad old days.
"70% of the stakeholders today voted in favour of these resolutions and they together with the FFA board will not let the game go back to the bad old days."
Advising that there were a number of outcomes it could work through with FIFA, with a normalisation committee "at the extreme" of those options, Lowy added "the game of football in Australia has never been in better shape than it is today. It's not perfect, but football in Australia today is in a fantastic place with great opportunities.
"We will now communicate with FIFA about what the next steps should be and to protect the interests of more than a million participants in the game and many more fans in Australia."
Adelaide United Chairman Greg Griffin, speaking on behalf of A-League clubs, said the vote showed Lowy "has lost the locker room".
Griffin told media "the professional game voted against it, the two major states voted against it.
"Once you lose the locker room in sport, it's very difficult to get it back.
"I think it has to go to FIFA. It's regrettable but that's what it is."
Lowy said an independent FFA board was crucial to Australian football's recent successes, going on to state "the fact that the A-League club owners together with a few of the bigger states voted against it doesn't deter me one bit. Our job is to act as independent custodians of the game, and we will do that.
"If the game wasn't independent, we wouldn't have qualified for the World Cup, we wouldn't have the Matildas possibly as the number four (ranked) team in the world.
The AGM got off to a rocky start when A-League clubs communicated a list of 13 potential conflicts of interest involving FFA board members.
The Australian Professional Football Clubs Association (AFPCA) - the lobby group formed by the A-League's 10 clubs - wrote to Lowy this morning to outline concerns about the independence of his board.
The letter flagged to FIFA that fundamental governance problems were at play, with FIFA believed to have a range of options open to it now the FFA had failed to agree on a congress restructure.
The AFPCA's letter was sent to media along with FFA staff members, directors, state federation officials, representatives from FIFA and Asian Football Confederation, the A-League clubs and Professional Footballers Australia.
It provided an overview of claimed previous affiliations between FFA board members or their companies with the Westfield Group or the Lowy family, with a source or reference attributed to every claim.
Images: 2017 A-League champions Sydney FC (top), Stephen Lowy (middle) and FIFA's headquarters in the Swiss city of Zurich (below).
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
28th June 2017 - AUSTRALIA SLAMMED IN FIFA REPORT ON WORLD CUP BIDDING
28th April 2017 - 1.1 MILLION AUSTRALIANS PARTICIPATING IN FOOTBALL
3rd May 2017 - A-LEAGUE CLUBS REJECT ‘INADEQUATE’ FFA FUNDING OFFER
20th April 2017 - FFA LOOKS TO CLOSE AIS-BASED CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE
10th February 2017 - MELBOURNE VICTORY CHAIRMAN WARNS FFA OVER FUNDING AND DECISION-MAKING
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