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FFA needs to "butt out" of governance deliberations, says Griffin

Soccer

A-League clubs have repeated their call for Football Federation Australia to scrap plans for an extraordinary general meeting and “butt out” of talks to reform the sport’s governance.

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The EGM was to have been held yesterday, but was postponed until November 27 after FFA discovered it would not have enough votes to pass its preferred model for a new congress.

However, that hasn’t satisfied the clubs, who never wanted it to happen in the first place – and still don’t.

Adelaide United chairman Greg Griffin, who is also the head of the Australian Professional Football Clubs Association, declared: “We want the whole EGM process discontinued.”

“To the extent that FFA can say they were reacting to the wishes of stakeholders, each of the PFA [Professional Footballers Australia] and APFCA did not ask for it to be postponed.

“We asked that it be withdrawn, and that’s a very fundamental difference.

“Our position is unequivocally that they need to butt out and let the stakeholders, as FIFA has instructed, reach consensus without interference.”

The nine state federation heads are believed to be locked in talks with FFA chairman Steven Lowy.

FFA essentially has until Monday – 21 days before the EGM – to determine what structure it will put up for a vote, making the next few days of negotiations pivotal.

The new EGM date is three days before the FIFA-imposed deadline for governance reform, with the prospect of a normalisation committee running the sport in Australia looming large.

The current congress, the body that selects the FFA board, is the smallest and least democratic of any FIFA member nation.

As it stands, it is a 10-vote electorate – one each for the state federations, plus one representing the A-League clubs.

While Professional Footballers Australia will get a seat at the table in an expanded congress, along with a representative of women’s football, the crux of the saga is whether the clubs should receive either four or five votes.

The clubs want five, which would ensure state federations no longer have majority power to choose FFA’s board.

It’s understood the latest compromise suggestion from FFA is for a 9-4-1-2 split, which would give two votes to women’s football.

However, there are arguments over who should choose the women’s representatives.

Griffin said the second women’s vote was a “smokescreen” put forward by FFA, designed to maintain control over board appointments.

“The (FFA) board does not want any party other than it or the federations to appoint the women’s member,” he said.

“That is a fundamental issue for both the PFA and APFCA upon which neither of us will give one millimetre of ground.

“The women’s vote will be determined, as was agreed in August in Sydney, by collaboration between the three stakeholders – the APFCA, the PFA and the state federations.”

-AAP 

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