November 30 – Not so long ago, Australia was bidding for the 2022 World Cup, albeit with little chance of success. Now their football federation has been plunged into meltdown.
At its annual meeting this week, Football Federation Australia (FFA) fell short of enough votes for reforms demanded by FIFA, paving the way for FIFA to take over the running of the association – an embarrassing blow to a country that takes its place in Friday’s draw for next year’s tournament in Russia.
At the heart of the dispute is how much representation the clubs from the professional A-League should have in the format of the FFA’s 10-member Congress. Currently that is just one vote even though the clubs say they generate 80% of the sport’s revenues in Australia.
FIFA gave the federation until the end of November to get its house in order or risk being replaced by a normalisation committee. But FFA chairman Steven Lowe (pictured) failed to gain the required support for a new expanded FFA membership of 13, including two additional votes to the clubs and one for the players, after three of the game’s biggest stakeholders voted against his board’s proposal.
“FFA will now formally communicate the outcome to football’s world governing body FIFA, which had instructed Australian football’s stakeholders to agree on expansion of the Congress by today’s date,” Lowy said in a statement.
“We will now talk to FIFA about what steps can now be taken to resolve this issue so that we have a larger, more representative Congress.”
Clubs representative Greg Griffin said Lowy, the son of former FFA chairman and 2022 bid leader Frank Lowy, had “lost the locker room”.
“The professional game voted against it, the two major states voted against it,” the Adelaide United chairman told local media. Once you lose the locker room in sport, it’s very difficult to get it back. I think it has to go to FIFA. It’s regrettable but that’s what it is.”
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