FFA treats us 'like children', says A-League club boss

A-League clubs are being treated "like children" by Football Federation Australia, according to one owner, as the power-struggle between the clubs and the ruling body shows no sign of abating.

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FFA Chairman Steven Lowy and FFA CEO David Gallop Source: Getty Images AsiaPac

The club chief, speaking anonymously, offered a stern rebuke to FFA over what the clubs view as a derisory $3.55 million grant offer for the 2017-2018 season, an offer they have universally rejected.

With a FIFA task force due to descend on Australia next month to broker an accord between the game's multiple stakeholders and the FFA over a broadening of its congress, the owner's withering critique is just the latest of a volley of jabs aimed at chairman Steven Lowy and CEO David Gallop.

The clubs are seeking at least $4 million per season in the wake of the latest TV rights deal, and the raising of the salary cap to $2.9 million.

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And with the owners' bid to force FFA to open their accounts for scrutiny being denied, their faith in the governing body appears to have all but evaporated.

FIFA, too, is running short of patience, threatening to seize control and sack the FFA board if it has not satisfactorily democratized its governance structures by the November deadline set by the world ruling body.

"There has been an evolution in the game over the past 12 years since the inception of the competition," said the owner.

"Back then we, the clubs, were immature toddlers and it made sense for their to be a firm hand to control how the game grew, and that came from FFA.

"Nobody had an issue with that because in many respects we were infants and there was a need for a governing structure which we operated within and we readily acquiesced to.

"But, as time has gone on, we have grown up, become wiser and reached a level of maturity which demands that we must be treated in a different manner to the kids that we once were.

"The problem is that FFA has not readily recognized this, and while we have now graduated and become adults they still treat us rather like children.

"It's something which needs to addressed because it doesn't make for an environment of full cooperation."

The clubs are pushing for an independently run A-League, believing it's time for head office to cede control in the best interests of the game.

"There really needs to be recognition that we, as the main investors in the competition since its birth in 2005, deserve to have greater control of our own destinies," added the owner.

"What we are seeing now, in terms of our relationship with FFA, is really about a coming of age which can't simply be ignored."

FFA's refusal to open their books for the clubs' perusal has sparked threats of legal action, in what another owner describes "as a serious situation."

Asked to address to the comments an FFA spokesman stated: "We are not going to respond to anonymous criticism."


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Published 20 July 2017 at 8:00pm
By Dave Lewis