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Sport Australia Chief Executive intervenes in FFA governance dispute

Sport Australia Chief Executive intervenes in FFA governance dispute
September 7, 2018
Sport /

Kate Palmer, Chief Executive of Sport Australia, has intervened in the Football Federation Australia (FFA) governance dispute declaring the Federal Government agency does not support changes proposed by a working group backed by world football governing body FIFA.

In a letter to the nine state federations and the A-League clubs, Palmer said it would be a “concern” to Sport Australia if all of the recommendations made by the congress review working group (CRWG) were to be enacted.

As reported by AAP, Palmer wrote “it is the view of Sport Australia, that there are a number of recommendations in the report that do not meet Sport Australia’s Sports Governance Principles.” Palmer did not indicate what those concerns were, flagging the release of a more detailed statement next week.

Outgoing FFA Chairman Steven Lowy had previously used Sport Australia’s governance principles as the basis for his opposition to the reforms, arguing they would not preserve the independence of the FFA board.

The CRWG proposals are due to be put for a vote at an FFA extraordinary general meeting - now scheduled to be held on 2nd October - representing a further delay on FIFA’s timetable

With behind-the-scenes lobbying by those for and against the reforms, the Chairmen of four state federations - Northern NSW, Tasmania, the ACT and Northern Territory - are still believed to be opposed to the CRWG’s findings and can block them from being adopted if they maintain their stance.

Palmer (pictured) noted their position and said Sport Australia recommended that “the issues and concerns be worked through in time, and in good faith.”

Given FIFA has been looking for the FFA to fall in line with their statutes over more than two years, further delays could lead to sanctions inclulding a FIFA appointed ‘Normalisation Committee’ to run the game and could also put Australia's defence of the Asian Cup at risk and affect the nation’s bid to host the 2023 Women's World Cup.

Palmer’s involvement has not been received well by the pro-reform parties and is unlikely to be welcomed by FIFA which reserves the right to suspend countires where there is interference in the sport.

Commenting on Palmer’s invervention, former FFA executive Bonita Mersiades, the author of Whatever It Takes: The Inside Story of the FIFA Way, wrote on Twitter “I wonder why @sportaustralia wants to see FFA suspended from FIFA? Strange move on the part of a public sector agency to undermine a sport with international competition on the horizon and a WWC bid.”

Article updated. As of 14th September, Sport Australia has released the letter sent to stakeholders. Click here to view that letter.

Related Articles

5th September 2018 - FFA to review policy governing ethnic heritage of clubs

23rd August 2018 - FIFA agrees Working Group’s recommended FFA governance reforms

17th August 2018 - Steven Lowy set to quit FFA Chairman’s role

14th August 2018 - FIFA-backed congress group dismisses FFA’s reform concerns

7th August 2018 - Working Group report recommends that A-League be spun off from Football Federation Australia

1st August 2018 - FFA looks to block working group’s governance changes

4th April 2018 - Independent chairperson to lead FFA reform

23rd January 2018 - Bonita Mersiades: Why I wrote the inside story of the FIFA Way

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

3rd February 2017 - FFA reform promise appeases A-League clubs

13th December 2016 - Kate Palmer unveiled as new Australian Sports Commission Chief Executive

17th June 2016 - Sports Commission advances governance reform to unify sports and build trust

19th March 2013 - Australian Sports Commission raises governance standards

19th April 2012 - Pushing for better governance in Australian sport

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