A day after FFA chairman Steven Lowy shut down talks over a new A-League operating model, it emerged Griffin threatened to take FFA to court if it did not open its books to clubs following FIFA’s release of the Garcia Report.
The Garcia Report, published in June by FIFA, accused FFA of making improper payments to influence those voting for the 2022 World Cup host.
Griffin made his ultimatum in a letter dated July 21 sent to Lowy.
It comes amid a worsening wrangle between A-League clubs and the governing body over how the money from football’s new TV deal will be shared.
Griffin, chairman of the Australian Professional Football Clubs Association – a lobby group set up by A-League clubs to represent their interests – had already requested a full forensic audit of FFA’s finances be shared with the clubs. This followed the rejection of their proposal for a $4 million share of revenue to each club per year.
But in the letter, Griffin widened the scope of that request to include any financial documents pertaining to the 2022 World Cup bid, arguing the Garcia Report had proved FFA acted against the interests of its members.
“Monies have been paid over to persons that clearly treated those payments as incentives to secure their vote for the Australian bid,” Griffin wrote, noting some of those involved in FFA’s bid were still on staff or part of the organisation’s board.
“Not only have these findings shamed Australian sport but it causes any fair minded person reason to doubt the integrity of the FFA accounting practices which are not disclosed to any Member.
“Put simply I believe that unless I and any other interested Member review the associated figures there can be no formal closure of the matter.”
With relations between FFA and the clubs at a low point, it looks increasingly likely that it will fall to a FIFA/AFC delegation next month to broker a compromise over deadlocked discussions for an expanded congress.
If there is no resolution by November 30, FIFA will disband the FFA board and establish a ‘normalisation committee’ to run the sport in Australia.
The twin issues of the FFA congress make-up and the funding battle with club owners are hampering the sport from addressing other pressing matters, including expansion of the A-League and the prospect of a national second division.
FFA declined to comment.
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