Cameroon connection an example to FFA in Australia's bitter power struggle

An uncomfortable parallel has emerged between Australia and Cameroon, as FIFA prepares to spend up to 10 months installing and fine-tuning a new ruling body to replace the moribund FFA.


Cameroon played Australia at the Confederations Cup. Source: Getty Images

The nations that played out a 1-1 draw at June's Confederations Cup in St Petersburg, are both struggling off the field when it comes to stakeholders feuding over the local governance of the game.

And in a preview of the fate that awaits Australia after FIFA's November 30 deadline for an expanded Congress expires, FFA need only take a look at events in the west African nation as recently as just under two months ago.

In June FIFA sent a peace keeping delegation to Africa in the same way it had in August to Sydney.

On August 24 it disbanded the dysfunctional governing Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT), and installed a normalisation committee to run the sport on an interim basis.

Last year FIFA also imposed normalisation committees on Guinea and Argentina.

In a statement that may be echoed here in the first week of December if a deal acceptable to all Australia's stakeholders cannot be struck, FIFA said it made the decision "after recent failed attempts to reconcile the football stakeholders in Cameroon and overcome the current impasse".

It's believed FIFA has already made contact with several qualified Australians over their willingness to help be part of the restructure of the game in a post-Steven Lowy, post FFA-era, in which no one faction - as is the case now in the form of the state federations - has the outright majority to elect FFA board members.

Sources claim that FIFA is allowing between six to 10 months to begin again from ground zero in identifying and installing a local ruling body that fulfills its statutes over representation and inclusiveness.

As is currently the case in Cameroon, the normalisation committee runs the sport's daily affairs, drafts new statutes and oversees elections for a new executive committee.

The elections of a new board in Cameroon are scheduled by the end of February.

FFA is hoping to head off a FIFA takeover on November 1 at a controversial extraordinary general meeting (EGM) between the existing stakeholders in hopes will force through its version of reform, in cahoots with the states.

However, there is the trenchant opposition from the A-League clubs and the PFA.

FFA plans to present its favoured Congress model as a fate accompli to FIFA, in the expectation it would be rubber stamped by Zurich.

The clubs have threatened a court injunction to halt the proposed EGM, accusing chairman Steven Lowy and the FFA of "gerrymandering" the process and an "abuse of power" in pursuit of retaining the status quo.

The clubs favour a model which sees the state federations retain their nine votes, gives the clubs five and one each to the PFA and women's football.

Crucially, it removes the power of the states to elect board members purely of their choosing.

Australia, meanwhile, will be hoping the unfortunate parallel with Cameroon does not extend on the field, with the reigning Africa Cup of Nations champions already out of the running for next year's World Cup in Russia, after a 1-1 draw with Nigeria last month proved fatal to their qualification hopes.

Australia's fate will be determined in next month's home-and-away intercontinental World Cup play-off against Honduras, amid reports that coach Ange Postecoglou will resign regardless of the outcome.

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3 min read
Published 17 October 2017 at 7:26pm
By Dave Lewis
Source: SBS The World Game