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FIFA to FFA: This is your mess, you clean it up

Soccer

FIFA has placed the future of Australian football firmly back in Football Federation Australia’s court and issued a subtle reminder it is not a stakeholder in the political reform process.

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It comes as the players’ union yesterday wrote to state member federations stating it had received member backing for a compromised expanded congress model in which it would get only one vote.

A fortnight after a visiting FIFA/AFC delegation witnessed the chaotic, nasty nature of the game’s domestic governance, the world governing body has dispatched its first piece of formal feedback to FFA chairman Steven Lowy.

In a leaked letter dated August 22, FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura describes this month’s heated meetings in Sydney as “productive and fruitful”, implying there are no plans at this stage to disband the FFA board before the November 30 deadline it has imposed.

However, Samoura reiterates the “critical time of the process” in which FFA has been ordered to allow more stakeholders a say in how the game is run.

“While FIFA and AFC remain committed to providing you with our continued and full support, the responsibility – as communicated by the joint FIFA/AFC visit in line with the aforementioned decision of the FIFA Member Associations Committee – to reach agreement on a consensual membership model lies with FFA and the stakeholders (Member federations, A-League clubs and PFA),” the letter reads.

“In this context, we look forward to continuing to receive regular updates on the process from FFA.”

On three separate occasions in the relatively short, diplomatically worded letter, Samoura specifically identifies the stakeholders as the state member federations, A-League clubs and the players’ union Professional Footballers Australia.

Its stance is in keeping with prior FIFA correspondence and the impression of several stakeholders that FFA is not a stakeholder but a facilitator.

During FIFA’s visit, Lowy was twice accused of impeding consensus between the three sets of stakeholders, an agreement that would have ended the protracted impasse threatening to rip the code from its foundations.

FFA, who held a board meeting yesterday, maintained its position that board directors have a right to be actively involved in any debate about the structure of the board they sit on.

As it stands, it’s believed the clubs, PFA and some state federations are in support of a revised 9-5-1-1 congress model comprising nine votes for the states, five for the clubs, one for the players, and one for the women’s game.

PFA, who had been seeking two congress seats – one representing male players and one female – is understood to have written to state federations outlining its support for 9-5-1-1 on the grounds that gender equity is safeguarded via the all-encompassing women’s vote.

It’s understood some state federations are considering a 9-4-1-1 model supported by FFA but not the other stakeholders.

A proposed 9-3-1 model, backed by all states but one and opposed by the clubs and PFA, was rejected by FIFA in July as undemocratic.

 

Meanwhile, Adelaide United have stormed through to the FFA Cup quarterfinals, scoring three times after the break to recover from a tough first half and crush A-League rivals Melbourne Victory 3-0 at Marden Sports Complex last night.

The Reds’ new Danish recruit Johan Absalonsen struck first with a belter from outside the box that swerved and tucked inside the post.

Former Sydney FC striker George Blackwood doubled the lead from the spot before Nathan Konstandopoulos sealed the win with a delightful 90th-minute curler that left Lawrence Thomas dumbstruck.

The goalkeeper wasn’t nearly as stupefied as winger Mitch Austin, who was veritably flattened by a Taylor Regan tackle and somehow returned to play as Victory dominated early.

-AAP 

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