Last week FFA informed FIFA it had reached consensus from more than 75 per cent of members for the first stage of an expanded congress, after the previously resistant Football Federation Victoria offered conditional support with a number of stipulations.
That 9-3-1 model constitutes the nine state member federations, two seats for the A-league clubs and one for the W-League, and one for the players’ union Professional Footballer’s Australia (PFA).
But in an embarrassing blow to FFA chairman Steven Lowy and his beleaguered board, it failed to convince FIFA the model was sufficiently democratic.
In a win for FFA’s dissenters, football’s world governing body and the AFC have decided to intervene directly to get the protracted process moving.
The threat of a normalisation committee still looms, and FIFA has given FFA until November 30 to have a new congress in place before it steps in to disband the board and temporarily take over Australian soccer’s administration.
FFA still sits poles apart from the A-League clubs, PFA and the largest state member federation, Football New South Wales, who are standing firm on a 9-5-1 model.
Trust has all but dissolved in the increasingly bitter stand-off, especially as the 10 A-League clubs continue to seek what they believe is their share of revenue entitlements and a greater say in the game’s future.
Clubs fanned the fire last week when they unanimously rejected an offer of $3.55 million from FFA and even threatened legal action.
FFA confirmed yesterday that FIFA had deemed its two-stage expansion “does not reflect an appropriate representation of all stakeholders”.
It pointed out that the second phase of expansion, proposed to start after a new A-League operating model was agreed, would have considered more special interest groups as well as “any rebalancing of A-League and member federation votes”.
“We look forward to working with FIFA and AFC representatives over the coming weeks,” Lowy said in a statement.
“As I said in March, FFA wants to see an expanded congress for Australia that reflects the way the game is evolving in this country but also protects and promotes the interests of the whole of the game.
“Our congress members have differing views on how that should happen so we will continue to work with all parties to find a solution by the end of November.”
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