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FFA to talk reform with players' union

Soccer

Football Federation Australia will meet with the players’ union today in the last of this week’s crunch talks to nut out top-level reform.

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After days of urgent meetings with A-League clubs and state member federations, governing body heavyweights are scheduled to sit down with Professional Footballers Association (PFA) to discuss how to make the Australian game’s governance more democratic.

FIFA has called for a more inclusive general assembly – the electorate that decides on the FFA board – to be agreed on by the end of March, prompting rounds of consultation to continue in the coming weeks.

The union is eager for reform, seeing expansion as a route to more jobs and pathways for the professional development of coaches and players.

“The PFA is encouraged that FFA and FIFA discussed the expansion of its membership constructively,” PFA chief executive John Didulica said last week.

“Over the past month we have discussed the current governance model of Australian football and potential reforms with our executive and delegates, and have subsequently briefed all our members who are looking forward to getting involved in the process.”

It comes amid rising agitation for wholesale change and follows meetings between chairman Steven Lowy and chief executive David Gallop, and other stakeholders.

The states currently hold nine of the 10 congress votes – the smallest electorate of any FIFA member nation – while A-League clubs hold one collective vote.

It is understood FFA proposed this week to increase the number of votes to 17 and give clubs an extra two, with the other five to go to special interest groups including referees and beach soccer.

Clubs rejected that offer, instead calling for five additional votes for a total of six.

They also continue to demand $6 million in annual distribution and will spend the coming weeks pressing FFA for details on a revamped A-League ownership model.

FFA has acknowledged it cannot retain full ownership over the competition if club licences are to grow in value.

-AAP

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