FFA bid to head off FIFA takeover hits legal loophole

The power struggle tearing Australian football apart is expected to take another hostile turn this week, with FFA put on notice of legal action from the A-League clubs over plans to force through its version of reform.

Steven Lowy

FFA Chairman Steven Low Source: AAP

It's understood that FFA chairman Steven Lowy is set to give written notice as early as Monday to stakeholders of intent to hold an October extraordinary general meeting (EGM), in a last-ditch attempt to force through a deal with the state federations which would effectively preserve the status quo, and deny the A-League clubs a meaningful voice in an expanded Congress.

Seventy five per cent of stakeholders must agree for the meeting to proceed.

World governing body FIFA have given the FFA until November 30 to reach consensus with its stakeholders over democratizing the game, or it will enact its pledge to dismantle the board and install an interim normalisation committee in its place.

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The FFA and the state federations have settled on a 9.4.1.1 model which maintains the state bodies' grasp on an absolute majority in electing board members.

The clubs are arguing for 9.5.1.1 format, in keeping with FIFA's edict to broaden representation with nine votes to the states, five to the clubs and one apiece to the PFA and the women's game.

Neither side is willing to yield, with the clubs now extending the injunction threat made last week to the state federations over their attempts to call an EGM to also include the FFA itself.

The grounds of any court action would hinge on the EGM being held with the sole purpose, in the words of Adelaide United chairman Greg Griffin, "of passing resolutions designed to frustrate the will of FIFA and the AFC".

Convention has it the 21 days notice must be given for an EGM, with the FFA board's AGM scheduled for November 15.

The FFA is hopeful that the plan forged with states would be accepted by FIFA, and head off a takeover.

However, a letter to Lowy penned by FIFA Secretary General Fatuma Samoura on September 22 stated that all stakeholders must agree on the make up of a new Congress - not just FFA and the states.

To add another layer of intrigue the newly-formed Australian Association of Football Clubs, chaired by former Townsville Fury chairman Rabieh Krayem, is actively promoting its bid to be part of a reconstituted Congress as new A-League season - overshadowed by the governance crisis - kicked off to disappointing attendances and poor TV ratings.

Though its primary purpose is the introduction of a second tier competition, and future A-League pathway for the 120 NPL clubs under its umbrella, 

Krayem sees having a voice on the Congress as crucial.

The AAFC are expected to send letters this week to the A-League clubs and state federations outlining their case for a seat at Congress, as the arrival of FIFA to enforce regime change appears ever more likely.

It's believed FIFA are supportive of the AAFC's aspirations and there has been ongoing contact with the world body's Head of Member Associations, Nodar Akhalkatsi.

And there is growing support amongst the A-League clubs for AAFC to be embraced.


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3 min read
Published 8 October 2017 at 8:10pm
By Dave Lewis
Source: SBS The World Game