Creating a new order for football in Australia

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    It’s been reported FIFA has instructed the FFA to reform its governance structure by 31 March 2017. In particular, FIFA wants membership of the FFA to embrace a wider section of stakeholders.

    Currently, the FFA has just ten ‘members’, which means there are only ten votes at general meetings, and only ten votes for electing the FFA board.

    There are nine votes for state members, with the federations of Queensland, Northern New South Wales, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia, and Northern Territory each getting one vote. Then there’s one vote for the ten A-League clubs.

    FIFA is not happy with this.

    The governance structure required of FIFA Members is detailed in FIFA’s statutes, with Article 15 stating: “legislative bodies (in this case, FFA) must be constituted in accordance with the principles of representative democracy and taking into account the importance of gender equality in football.”

    FIFA boss Gianni Infantino (Photo: AP)

    This issue is not new.

    In September 2002, the Australian Minister for Sport, Senator Rod Kemp, called for a review into the governance and management structures of football in Australia.

    In April 2003, the “Report of the Independent Soccer Review Committee: into the Structure, Governance and Management of Soccer in Australia” was delivered to Federal Parliament.

    This report is commonly referred to as The Crawford Report, and it proposed a voting structure for the FFA with broad stakeholder representation. Sadly, the recommendation was ignored and, as a result, we now are faced with the urgent demand from FIFA to reform, or face sanctions.

    In particular, the Crawford Report recommended a voting electorate that would have a minimum of one vote for each of the nine state and territory member federations of the FFA.

    The Crawford Report also suggested:

    • additional one vote for State Members with more than 50,000 registered players
    • additional one vote for State Members with 200,000 registered players
    • additional one vote for State Members with 400,000 registered players
    • one vote for the national men’s football league
    • one vote each for: coaches, futsal, referees, women and players.

    It’s a shame the Crawford recommendations were not implemented from Day 1, since it suggested a reasonable voting structure.

    Nevertheless, we now have the opportunity to start again. So, this discussion is focused on two key points:

    Firstly, which stakeholder groups do you want to vote on issues impacting football in Australia?

    Secondly, how would you weight the votes for the stakeholders?

    Here is my new FFA structure.

    ffa structure

    Guiding principles

    1. Include all major stakeholder groups in football
    I’m aware I’ve omitted giving fans a vote, since the interests of fans are too diverse to be represented by any two individuals.

    However, I can be convinced to include fans as a voting constituent if someone can create a viable way to have all fans vote for two representatives and a method to ensure all interests are represented – not just active fans.

    2. Equal male and female representatives for every voting constituency, other than A-League and W-League

    3. The two biggest voting constituents will be A-League clubs and PFA

    4. No single group of constituents must have a majority vote, so single constituency agendas cannot be forced

    Here’s your chance to paint your vision for football in Australia. Start with a blank sheet and create your utopian model for the new FFA.

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