Temperatures rise in Australia as A-League clubs demand forensic audit of FFA

June 30 – Australia’s A-League clubs are increasing the stakes in their dispute with the Football Federation of Australia (FFA). Having refused the latest FFA cash offer earlier this week they are now demanding a forensic financial audit of the FFA’s accounts for the past three years.

The row over the revenue-sharing model between the clubs and the federation in Australia has been bubbling for some time and has been running in parallel with a governance dispute where clubs are demanding more representation on the federation board and within its voting structures.

The latest offer to clubs was for A$3.55 million for the coming season but the clubs rejected this sum arguing that they have carried the losses of the league for years and that this should be reflected in a significant rise in their share of broadcast, merchandising and sponsorship revenues.

The FFA argues that the money has to support the whole of Australian football and not just the men’s elite A-League. The clubs argue that the league is responsible for 85% of the new $56 million TV deal with Fox, and the sponsorship with Hyundai.

The letter sent to the FFA and other stakeholders was signed by Greg Griffin, chairman of Adelaide United and the A-League clubs’ representative to FFA. He says that he can make the demands for an audit under the Australian Corporations Act.

“Under the act I have the right to apply to the court for an order allowing me to inspect the requested accounting records and other documents of FFA should my request be either rejected or conditioned to a level that is unreasonable by the directors. I have no desire to engage in unnecessary and expensive litigation to enforce my rights,” he says.

Griffin complains that the clubs have no visibility of the FFA’s finances and that at the 2016 annual general meeting the financial reports provided to him were “presented in such a way as to be virtually meaningless”.

He also demanded a breakdown of the A$113,636 “consultancy services” provided in 2015 and 2016 by former FIFA executive committee member and FFA board member Moya Dodd, according to report in the Sydney Morning Herald.

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