FFA still under Lowy’s leadership – for now

By Emma Kemp, Emma Kemp is a Roar Guru

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31 Have your say

    Steven Lowy has been granted a stay of execution but FIFA will be well in charge when it returns to Australia to lead bitterly divided stakeholders through more negotiations.

    A complete FIFA takeover is off the table for now, but the fate of the Football Federation Australia chairman – who has mentioned legal action if FIFA takes over – remains in the balance.

    Football’s world governing body says it will “define the terms of reference” for a new congress review working group seeking to broker a compromise on the future of the local game.

    Australia’s warring factions had been waiting nervously for FIFA’s expected takeover following last week’s failure to achieve consensus on an expanded congress.

    The body, which elects FFA’s board, has long been deemed undemocratic by FIFA.

    The A-League clubs, players’ union and the women’s game have all been campaigning for a bigger voice.

    Three days after FIFA discussed the protracted affair at its member associations committee meeting in Zurich, FFA received a letter from deputy secretary general Zvonimir Boban containing no mention of direct intervention via a normalisation committee.

    But it made clear intervention will still occur, albeit of a softer nature.

    Boban stated FIFA had decided to allow for a congress review working group to be established “provided that FIFA and AFC are fully involved in the process and that a clear roadmap ensuring a timely conclusion with the adoption of a more inclusive and representative membership model is established”.

    To that end, FIFA and AFC officials will return to Sydney in the new year – six months after August’s delegation witnessed an embarrassing show of the domestic game’s governance – to try and force a compromise from the deeply opposed parties over the make-up of the congress votes.

    The FIFA and AFC officials will first meet with the stakeholders, which the letter again explicitly named as the member federations, A-League clubs and Professional Footballers Australia.

    It will also meet with the Association of Australian Football Clubs, the body that represents the NPL and has been vying for a seat at the table on the congress.

    Based on that feedback, the delegation will then “define the terms of reference of the congress review working group, which include its objective, composition, mandate and timeline”.

    An FFA release on Thursday painted the picture rather more like a win for the under-fire Lowy, implying that FFA would be establishing the working group itself.

    “FIFA’s ruling gives all of us a chance to take a fresh look at how the congress can best represent the Australian football community, with the direct involvement of FIFA and AFC officials in that process,” Lowy said.

    “In a wider sense, this process will enable all Australian stakeholders to work together on a shared vision for our game at every level.”

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (31)

    • December 7th 2017 @ 1:17pm
      Midfielder said | December 7th 2017 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

      This follows the recommendation made by Vic Football…

      The Vic state Fed wrote to FIFA after the vote seeking FIFA come in and moderate an answer.

      Their reason was they don’t think the clubs wanted to comprise they wanted FFA management out and in their opinion FFA could not negotiate.

      When all said and done… FIFA have paid very careful attention and have come to the conclusion they need to step in but they don’t need a NC… more take a position to bring the parties together …

      IMO what this is a warning to all parties to work together and if not FIFA may simply tell the parties do this…

      The independent world governing body has obviously after consideration of all the facts and in speaking to all the parties set up a procedure where they don’t consider some parties came to the negotiation table to discuss but in the belief FIFA would appoint a NC and sack the board… It seems to have back fired on them…

      FIFA still want change but see that they have to step in and take charge of the process as it appears they don’t trust some of the parties to negotiate in good faith or maybe they don’t trust any of the parties.

      This will more than likely get a desired result earlier…

      I could be wrong but it appears to me FIFA want a different outcome than what any of the parties have suggested to date …. FIFA will essentially be in charge and FIFA guidelines will be the outcome … it will happen quite quickly and should be closer to what the grassroots want ..

      FIFA will not appoint a Australian NC… they will step in and bring the parties together to work within FIFA general laws.

      My guess is this will include procedures and KPI’s for a second division and P & R…

      • Roar Guru

        December 7th 2017 @ 1:29pm
        Cousin Claudio said | December 7th 2017 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

        Spot on Midfielder.

        Lets hope the FFA have the freedom and power to get the A-League buzzing again with the lucrative holiday season coming up.

        Warring factions should put aside their differences and work together over the next few weeks, before the next bunch of overpaid, corrupt FIFA “consultants” rock up in town.

        What’s the viable alternative to Lowy and the FFA anyway?

        • December 7th 2017 @ 1:48pm
          Waz said | December 7th 2017 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

          “What’s the viable alternative to Lowy and the FFA anyway?” … well we wouldn’t know would we, under Lowy’s absolute control on football no other contender ever emerged.

          Sepp Blatter would be a better option than Steven Lowy imo, at least he cared about football unlike Lowy.

        • Roar Guru

          December 7th 2017 @ 2:01pm
          Cousin Claudio said | December 7th 2017 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

          Before you kick someone out, you need a meaningful replacement.
          Lets set up the independent body first and then transition to the new model.

          I’m happy to get rid of Lowy and the lot of them, but lets provide the pathway to a better set up first, not just throw the noose over the gallows and call for his head.

      • December 7th 2017 @ 1:32pm
        Waz said | December 7th 2017 @ 1:32pm | ! Report


        The only thing FIFA will work on is the structure of congress and ensuring appropriate representation.

        It will not work on Div 2 or pro/rel or anything else. Just congress.

        Whether the various parties can use this time to agree change only time will tell. I hope they will but I fear they won’t.

        What is certain is Lowy is about to lose absolute control

        • December 7th 2017 @ 1:37pm
          Midfielder said | December 7th 2017 @ 1:37pm | ! Report


          IMO FIFA have decided to step in directly and take control thereby bi-passing an NC.

          FIFA will expand the congress and IMO make recommendations pertaining to a second div and P & R.

          This IMO is a excellent outcome very well hidden in FIFA saying we are here to moderate …

          • December 7th 2017 @ 1:46pm
            Waz said | December 7th 2017 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

            They can’t/won’t make recommendations – that’s not their job and legally would be overstepping the mark. They will leave all that to congress to get on with.

            But I agree it’s probably a good move, especially if Lowy was prepared to go nuclear by dragging this into the courts.

            • December 7th 2017 @ 4:41pm
              punter said | December 7th 2017 @ 4:41pm | ! Report

              According to Bonita Mersiades;

              ‘Once FIFA and AFC make their determination in January “based on the feedback received”, the FFA Congress will be on an inexorable pathway of change. ‘

        • December 7th 2017 @ 3:59pm
          pete4 said | December 7th 2017 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

          That’s right this is only about the congress makeup although it says FIFA will draw up the terms of reference

          I wonder if the APFCA has even spoken to the AAFC about their 2nd tier plans (my guess is no)

          While FNSW and FFV are probably angling more seats in the any future expanded congress so they are petitioning together now

          • December 7th 2017 @ 4:26pm
            Waz said | December 7th 2017 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

            APFCA and AAFC have spoken about second tier plans. To what level is not clear though.

            • December 7th 2017 @ 5:57pm
              pete4 said | December 7th 2017 @ 5:57pm | ! Report

              Yes interesting since A-League clubs are said to be chasing $6m each annually I don’t think it got very far

      • December 7th 2017 @ 6:14pm
        Mark said | December 7th 2017 @ 6:14pm | ! Report

        I said a similar thing on another page. The clubs’ belligerence worked against them.

        The clubs have no interest in ‘representative democracy’. Their only interests are their own. They wouldn’t support a congress that gave the state feds total control. That’s reasonable. However, they also wouldn’t support any expanded congress model that didn’t give them a veto over running football in Australia. That is ultimately what they’re after, but it seems Griffin has been so unsophisticated in his approach to getting it that his motives are obvious even to FIFA.

    • December 7th 2017 @ 1:30pm
      JAJI said | December 7th 2017 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

      I used to love watching Boban in the 1990s for AC Milan

      In a perfect scenario I would have an independently run A League and the FFA still running the National sides etc. Too hard to do both as we are seeing at the moment

    • December 7th 2017 @ 1:57pm
      Nemesis said | December 7th 2017 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

      This is an amazingly good outcome for AUS football.

      FIFA will set the rules for what it wants from the new FFA Congress, but AUS football has avoided the uncertainty that could have followed by ousting the FFA Board and potentially have upset existing sponsors & broadcasters and even pushed forward legal challenges, which would benefit no one except the legal industry.

    • December 7th 2017 @ 2:23pm
      andrew said | December 7th 2017 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

      i’m sure infantino’s friendship with Lowy had nothing to do with this. nothing at all

      • December 7th 2017 @ 4:29pm
        Waz said | December 7th 2017 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

        Friendship or not, Lowy has just lost – he’s avoided the humiliation of a NC but he’s also lost the ability to execute his implied threat of dragging this into court and crulling Australian football.

        • Roar Rookie

          December 7th 2017 @ 5:52pm
          Grobbelaar said | December 7th 2017 @ 5:52pm | ! Report

          But it does look like Lowy’s threats of legal action have put off FIFA in setting up the Normalisation Committee.

          It still seems to me that whichever way you slice and dice it, the present board (and chair) has been properly installed under Australian corporations law and not even Jesus Christ can oust them without meeting the 75% threshold in the FFA constitution.

          Now FIFA and the AFC might be able to get 8 of 10 votes directed towards a certain outcome, but to be honest, that’s not a given.

          • December 7th 2017 @ 6:15pm
            Nemesis said | December 7th 2017 @ 6:15pm | ! Report

            If the FFA Board tries to invoke AUS company law, FIFA will simply suspend the FFA of its rights as a Member of FIFA.

            Then it will invite other interested parties from the football community to create a Federation that will satisfy the FIFA Statutes.

            Maybe, the new Federation can be called: The Federation of Australian Football?

            The issues would be that the FFA holds all the assets, including the ALeague club licences & ALeague TV rights. But, the old FFA will have zero authority in world football & it will find these assets worthless since no professional footballer will register with the old FFA.

            Lowy is a dead man walking. But, at least, he is saved from the public humiliation of being kicked out by FIFA.

            • December 7th 2017 @ 7:05pm
              Lionheart said | December 7th 2017 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

              That’s my thoughts too Nemesis, thanks as I was starting to query my sanity given some of the spurious comments going around. Reading the FFA release on their website, they sound desperate, trying to convince us that all’s good, FIFA’s coming to vindicate their stance.
              All being equal, football can come out of this stronger than ever.

          • December 7th 2017 @ 7:09pm
            marcel said | December 7th 2017 @ 7:09pm | ! Report

            Lowy made no legal threats…he very reasonably said that he had sought legal advice about his obligations under Australian law..we should expect no less of him.

            • December 7th 2017 @ 7:33pm
              Waz said | December 7th 2017 @ 7:33pm | ! Report

              That was a legal threat. Lowy’s obligation was to meet his membership obligations to FIFA and follow the FFA Constitution… corporate las plays no part, if it did Lowy would have published financials?

      • December 7th 2017 @ 5:38pm
        Brainstrust said | December 7th 2017 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

        More like friendship to certain A-leaue club owners.
        FIFA are ignoring corruption left right and center elsewhere , but focusing on a country where external and internal influences want to harvest the grass roots money.
        Its not democratic to ignore a million players and have A_league club owners and professional players run the roost.
        The Victorian FFV president Taliodoris is a co founder of the PFA , and should be disaqualified from voting.

    • December 7th 2017 @ 6:25pm
      Marco said | December 7th 2017 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

      It’s not over til it’s over – there are many machinations that can occur. The uncertainty is the danger here. FIFA seems cautious if not somewhat uncertain of their next move.

      • December 7th 2017 @ 6:46pm
        Nemesis said | December 7th 2017 @ 6:46pm | ! Report

        Fifa has clearly stated its next moves in the letter to the FFA.

        In particular, FIFA has stated:

        1) FIFA will support a Congress review working group
        2) FIFA will visit Sydney in early 2018 with 2 objectives

        a) to meet all relevant stakeholders [note: FFA Board is not a stakeholder & FIFA does not mention them];
        b) to define the terms of reference of the Congress review working group, including: its objective, composition, mandate & timeline.

        So, FIFA has stated it will now give explicit instructions to the Congress review working group on how to form the new Congress.

    • December 7th 2017 @ 7:28pm
      Lionheart said | December 7th 2017 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

      here’s a link to the FA Council make-up, which I assume is the English equivalent, with 127 members (24 non-voting)
      An interesting list with just 6 members for the EPL and 6 for the EFL (Premiership), and a score of regional and grassroots representatives, including 2 supporters reps. Even the Armed Services have seats. Now that is representative, which is what I’d expect FIFA would expect to see here. You can see the non-voters are largely honorary seats, like ex Presidents.

      • Roar Rookie

        December 8th 2017 @ 6:27am
        Stevo said | December 8th 2017 @ 6:27am | ! Report

        Correct. If anything, FIFA will want to see more representatives than the minuscule sized congress that has been proposed so far which has been all about preserving power at the top.

        The FIFA action gives Lowy and the current board a way out without being sacked directly. As for pro/rel and div2, it’s not about that directly but it is about that indirectly.

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