Lowy's last stand as FFA runs out of ruses

Watching Football Federation Australia employ every tactic, ruse and contrivance it can muster in the pursuit of power preservation has become a grim spectator sport of late.

Steven Lowy

Steven Lowy Source: Getty Images

Seemingly oblivious to the collateral damage inflicted on Australian football, at home and abroad, chairman Steven Lowy stands shoulder-to-shoulder with CEO David Gallop, and a compliant board, in resisting the Force 10 hurricane of democratic change ripping through the game.

Until Monday night FFA could still rely on the meek acquiescence of eight of the nine state federations to rubber stamp whomever former governor Frank Lowy, and latterly his scion Steven, wanted to sit on its board.

But NSW broke ranks in August and now, it seems, Football Federation Victoria has followed suit in a game changer which leaves Lowy and his lieutenants hanging off a cliff edge as a FIFA delegation prepares to fly south to sort out the latest problem child of world football.


The significance of the decision of FFV president Kimon Taliadoros, a former NSL player and a man of deep conviction, to pen Lowy a letter telling him not to bother flying to Melbourne to bend his ear in support of FFA's brand of governance reform cannot be overstated.

It renders Wednesday's proposed EGM, at which Lowy planned to deliver on a platter to FIFA his sanitized version of reform, as quite pointless. 

And it positions FFV on the right side of history in a momentous moment in the sport, and who ends up running it.

Whether the EGM proceeds is a moot point, as the A-League clubs, the PFA and the two breakaway federations appear to have formed an alliance able to deny Lowy the 75 per cent majority needed to preserve his monopoly on power.

Perhaps now, finally, FFA will face the reality that the game is not theirs, in cahoots with the states, to administer as they please. And maybe they will even strike an eleventh deal with the rebellious hordes.

Either that or Lowy will be relieved of the keys to FFA Towers by a FIFA normalisation committee after the November 30 expiration deadline for an expanded Congress agreeable to all stakeholders.

FFA must accept and oversee a Congress format which gives the states nine votes, the clubs five and the PFA and women's game one, as its model now floats dead in the water.

When Lowy was bequeathed the reins of office in an unopposed election in 2015 he grandly intoned: "I look forward to working with all stakeholders, the member Federations, A-League clubs, the board and the management team at FFA to drive future growth for football.”

He added that the A-League would be an overriding priority.

Under his stewardship the opposite has occurred.

Division and dissatisfaction with HQ has festered and fermented, the A-League has foundered, crowds and TV ratings are down.

More specifically, four rounds into the new season, the FFA's own Metrics Report - released to each club - confirms FoxSports viewing figures have declined by 17 per cent whilst attendances are down 10 per cent year on year.

The figures in the report are described as "confronting" by A-League chief Greg O'Rourke, who has instigated a "crowds working party" to address the issue.

Hopes of expansion have stalled, relationships with the clubs have been poisoned beyond repair and now a FIFA normalisation committee is at the door.

It's not the legacy Lowy would have anticipated as heads an organization which seems now only to stand for one thing: its own survival.

Whatever plot twist is revealed next, Lowy's position as chairman appears untenable.

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4 min read
Published 31 October 2017 at 9:02am
By Dave Lewis