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"Tokenistic" progress in A-League standoff

Soccer

A-League clubs have been left disappointed by a failure to reach agreement with Football Federation Australia on changes to the sport’s governance.

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In recent weeks, the 10 clubs have stepped up a campaign to have more voices at Australian football’s top table, and to receive additional funding from head office.

A crunch meeting last night between club owners and league chiefs broke without resolution, although FFA reaffirmed a commitment to table changes formally before the end of March.

It’s unclear whether those proposals will meet the demands of clubs, desperate to have more say in running the sport.

One voice around the table said it was a “tokenistic” offering from FFA, which was represented by chairman Steven Lowy and chief executive David Gallop.

It’s understood the meeting, which went for almost four hours, was focused on representation and governance issues and did not begin to discuss revenue in depth – another major sticking point between the two groups.

Both FFA and the clubs, through umbrella group Australian Professional Football Clubs Association (APFCA), issued statements welcoming the talks – but failing to show any signs of agreement.

“The critical issues facing the game were discussed including the commitment to expand the FFA congress by the end of March 2017; the future operating model for the Hyundai A-League and its expansion,” a APFCA statement read.

“No resolutions on these matters were reached however the APFCA members remain committed to a meaningful and transparent process and reaching resolutions that create the appropriate outcomes for the A-League and the Australian football family.”

The March 31 deadline has come from world governing body FIFA, which has insisted on a democratisation within FFA to represent more voices.

A FFA statement suggested the governing body was keen to increase value in the league.

“The meeting discussed collaboratively the need to change the current operating and ownership structure of the A-League in order to attract more investment and increase the value of the league,” it said.

“FFA intends to hold an extraordinary general meeting of the Congress by the end of March to consider a special resolution to amend the Constitution of FFA based on the outcome of the stakeholder consultation process,” the FFA statement read.

FFA representatives will meet Professional Footballers Australia tomorrow before a board meeting on Saturday to progress matters further.

Further meetings are planned over the next month.

-AAP

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