Feature

FFA's stubborn stance causing huge embarrassment

Football Federation Australia's continued failure to get their house in order has cast a dark shadow over our game's image at home and abroad.

FFA

Football Federation Australia Chairman, Steven Lowy (R), and CEO David Gallop Source: AAP

As if FFA's shortcomings were not enough to get the game's stakeholders offside, they inevitably have drawn strong criticism and threats of intervention from world governing body FIFA.

How embarrassing is this for our game that has made such meaningful strides forward in the last decade.

Australia's frustrated football family deserve to be treated with more respect and dignity by the men from Whitlam Square, led by chairman Steven Lowy and chief executive David Gallop.

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FIFA have rejected FFA's proposal of an expanded congress model based on 9-3-1 and shortly they will send a joint delegation to try and end the impasse with stakeholders.



Among the members of the party comprising members of the Asian Football Confederation that are expected to advise FFA on a proper democratic process is Han Un Gyong from autocratic North Korea. Goodness me!

FFA have informed the world body that they had reached a (conditional) consensus of more than 75 per cent of members for the first stage of an expanded congress but their model did not convince FIFA of being democratic enough.

So the message from FIFA is pretty clear and unequivocal: fix the mess by November 30 or we'll do it for you.

The problem essentially is about money and the demand for a greater say in the running of the game by Australian football's stakeholders.

Money and power struggles tend to bring out the worst in people and all parties should be able to handle the precarious situation in a better and more positive way.

As the body running the sport in this country, however, it is up to FFA to show that they are there to listen to their people and not pay lip service and be seen as though they are working for the game's prosperity not their own.

The game's rulers have lost the dressing room in a big way and now also the stakeholders' trust. You will struggle to find anyone with a good word for FFA at the moment.
A-League clubs are at loggerheads with FFA over a greater share of television revenue.

A club owner even called for FIFA to strip FFA of their power.



Fans across the country have been complaining about FFA's inability to do things properly for a long time. With Whitlam Square it is always a money decision not a football decision, for example.

But the clubs and their fans now see FFA, despite their empty rhetoric, as a body that cannot be trusted to put the game's interests first.

Which is where FFA have got it wrong big time.

Regardless of what they might think about the issues that are affecting our football at such a crucial stage of its development, FFA must always put the game at large first and, more importantly, be seen to be doing so.

The outcome of this sad saga none of us should be proud of will shape the game in Australia for years to come.

Clearly FIFA - hardly a bastion of ethics, integrity and fair play - are not too impressed by FFA's modus operandi.

And for FIFA to advise us on democracy is embarrassing and humiliating - a bit like the Americans lecturing us on gun control.

This is where it hurts most for every reasonable football supporter in Australia.


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3 min read
Published 8 July 2017 at 1:54pm
By Philip Micallef