Former A-League boss calls for FIFA to boot out FFA board

Former A-League boss Archie Fraser has implored FIFA to step in and sack the FFA board amidst the latest ploy to stall governance reform from chairman Steven Lowy and his chief executive David Gallop.

After two years of dogged resistance to democratising football’s constitution, FFA have ignited widespread anger among the stakeholders by recruiting the votes of four renegade federations to attempt to thwart the recommendations of the congress review working group (CRWG) when they are put before a special general meeting on September 7.

The FIFA-installed CRWG has submitted a raft of recommendations on expanding world football’s smallest Congress which FFA were widely expected to rubber stamp.

However, it appears a clandestine agreement between Lowy and rogue states ACT, Northern Territory, Northern NSW and Tasmania is looking to block reform, leaving FIFA with the option to boot out the board and impose a normalisation committee.

Fraser, whose A-League tenure ran from 2009 to 2011, believes it’s an option that should be acted upon, even though Lowy insists no “undue influence” has been placed on the minnow federations.

“When you have four tiny federations (who represent just 18 per cent of participants) prepared to vote against a major reform, it’s simply disgraceful,” Fraser said.

“If they are going to do that then come out and tell us why. The system we have is massively broken. It needs a change.

“The clubs are ready for it and I think people in Australia have had enough. It’s a power grab by the Lowys to hang on for the last breath.

“The governance of the game needs a reboot ... hopefully FIFA will allow that to happen. It’s a test for them now to show they actually mean business.”

Fraser gave a withering assessment of where he sees the Australian game and its governing body after 13 years of the A-League.

“In any workplace around this country you get measured,” he said.

“We have a leadership who have not grown the game. They have no assets; don’t hold the management rights for a single stadium in the country; have no infrastructure; nothing in the bank; hold no media rights and we have a 10 team league where we used to have 13.

“By any criteria it’s questionable. It’s time for change and we don’t know why they’re hanging on. Maybe there are skeletons in the closet.”

Fraser sees the transition to an independently run A-League as a matter of urgency, with FFA left to look after the national teams and various other aspects.

“All the clubs are asking for is what was recommended by the Crawford Report all those years ago,” Fraser said.

“There’s a scaremongering exercise from FFA claiming the clubs are going to take all the money generated in the game.

“But, excuse me, they have been losing collectively 30 million a year for 10 years.

“They are also the only thing the FFA gain any TV revenue from because, as we know, when Frank Lowy took us into Asia we gave away the rights for the World Cup qualifiers and the Asian Cup to the World Sports Group and have to buy them back before they can be re-sold.

“Every other major code in the country have grown their revenues by growing their content.

“If the senior figures at FFA were getting paid the same as those running Hockey Australia or the tenpin bowls federation I don’t have a problem with that.

“But don’t pay them the same amount of money as the guy who's running the AFL and the NRL and come up with no improvements on revenue numbers.

“The FFA need to live within their means and look after whatever it is they are good at running - but that’s clearly not the whole of football.”

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4 min read
Published 2 August 2018 at 2:41pm
By Dave Lewis