Lowy a no-show at critical FIFA-FFA meeting

By Emma Kemp, Emma Kemp is a Roar Guru

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    International officials have finished top level talks with Australian football stakeholders but the absence of Steven Lowy at a final all-in meeting has thrown up further questions about the FFA chairman’s future.

    Having heard from all vested parties over the course of three days, the three-man FIFA delegation wrapped up Thursday’s joint meeting more than three hours early.

    They will return to Zurich before stipulating a timeline, composition and mandate for a working group to finally resolve the Australian game’s long-standing impasse on governance reform decreed two years ago.

    Representatives from the A-League clubs, state federations and players’ union, along with two FFA board members, were present at FFA headquarters on Thursday to reiterate their positions on who should get a voice on an expanded congress – the body which elects the FFA board.

    The association representing the National Premier League was also there, though special interest groups including coaches, referees, women and fans were not.

    Greg Griffin, chairman of the A-League clubs’ umbrella body the Australian Professional Football Clubs Association, described the exchanges as “refreshingly cordial”, a stark contrast to past acrimony.

    While it’s understood FIFA gave little away, parties left the meeting with the impression the world governing body would act swiftly to set up the congress review working group – its softer alternative to sacking Lowy and his board.

    That said, there’s no indication whether it will heed the clubs’ collective warning that Australia’s “declining” professional game faces collapse unless a June 1 deadline is met.

    Some fear the protracted saga could yet stretch out as far as November’s annual general meeting.

    Should that be the case, FFA has pledged to push ahead with expansion plans and take preliminary steps towards a “new corporate framework” for the A-League and W-League – yet another contentious issue.

    What did become clear on Thursday is that FFA is not in control of the reform process, not least because it seems willing to have an independent chairperson run the working group.

    Furthermore, it’s understood Lowy wasn’t actually present at Thursday’s gathering.

    One of FIFA’s two representatives, Nodar Akhalkatsi, apologised on behalf of the under-pressure FFA chairman, who had a ‘diary clash’.

    While FFA confirmed Lowy had already met with the delegation this week, his voluntary absence is unusual given his insistence on heavy involvement in every aspect of the process amid the struggle to maintain power.

    It follows his non-attendance at last season’s Dolan Warren Awards night and A-League grand final while abroad on business.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (28)

    • February 22nd 2018 @ 3:12pm
      Midfielder said | February 22nd 2018 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

      We can but hope it works out for the best…

    • February 22nd 2018 @ 4:02pm
      Waz said | February 22nd 2018 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

      Why wouldnt Lowy be there??

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 4:37pm
        Midfielder said | February 22nd 2018 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

        Only he can answer that but its not a good look for him as it was not as if the FIFA visit was a last minute thing…

        • February 22nd 2018 @ 4:55pm
          jamesb said | February 22nd 2018 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

          A new low for Lowy.

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 8:37pm
        Rolly said | February 22nd 2018 @ 8:37pm | ! Report

        Because he knows he has lost the confidence of all parties.

      • February 23rd 2018 @ 12:15pm
        Newie said | February 23rd 2018 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

        Major deal going on with the sale of Westfield. He sent his FFA board members to represent FFA. Standard procedure.

    • February 22nd 2018 @ 5:57pm
      Worried said | February 22nd 2018 @ 5:57pm | ! Report

      GET RID OF HIM!
      How can anyone take the sport seriously whilst he is there!

    • Roar Guru

      February 22nd 2018 @ 5:59pm
      Grobbelaar said | February 22nd 2018 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

      In case anyone hasn’t noticed, FIFA has done nothing, is doing nothing and will do nothing.

      All we are hearing currently is a heap of bureaucratese about timelines, further meetings, fruitful discussions, possiblities, ifs, buts and maybes.

      FIFA is very good at beating up on third world countries when they see “governance” issues, but Lowy’s threat to drag this through the Australian courts has clearly freaked out FIFA, because they do not look like they have the apetite for it.

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 7:31pm
        Waz said | February 22nd 2018 @ 7:31pm | ! Report

        Yeah but nah, they’ve done exactly what they said they would do. Lowy’s threat is just bluster, FIFA can just suspend Australia from FIFA and have done with it, and Lowy knows it,

        • Roar Guru

          February 22nd 2018 @ 9:06pm
          Grobbelaar said | February 22nd 2018 @ 9:06pm | ! Report

          Tom Smithies

          Verified account

          @SmithiesTele
          58m58 minutes ago
          More
          Spot the difference… FFA, Dec 7: “FFA will establish a Congress Review Working Group incl all relevant Australia stakeholders with direct support from FIFA.”FFA, Feb 22: “FIFA will decide on terms of reference for the Working Group incl its composition, mandate and timelines.”

          • February 22nd 2018 @ 9:14pm
            Waz said | February 22nd 2018 @ 9:14pm | ! Report

            You just undid your original post there right? Or did you mean something else?

            • Roar Guru

              February 23rd 2018 @ 7:59am
              Grobbelaar said | February 23rd 2018 @ 7:59am | ! Report

              Waz
              It depends on how you view it.

              At the end of the day, it’s just more talk about working parties, further discussions, reviews, stakeholder engagement, focus groups, etc, etc

              FIFA is actually doing nothing, and the attitude of the incumbents appears to be: go do your worst (safe in the knowledge that absolute nothing can happen to the structure of the current congress without it happening under the current constitution, otherwise it’s off to court – and the FFA will win).

              • February 23rd 2018 @ 9:00am
                Waz said | February 23rd 2018 @ 9:00am | ! Report

                No Grob, that’s your Mr Football like agenda in play here, that’s how you want to see it but you have no facts to base that on.

                FIFA warned this wouldn’t be an instantaneous process, they even said that about normalisation.

                They said this visit would be about fact-finding which they have done, and seem to have done pretty well having met with almost every body.

                That’s what they said they’d do and they did it. Your own layman’s “I wasn’t there but I’m prepared to post as if I know what’s going on” opinion is just that, an uninformed opinion.

                If you are right, nothing but talk will happen next.

                If FIFA do what they say they will do, they will announce the terms of reference for the working group and it’s make up. That’s what they said they’d do.

                So step one has been achieved even though you say it hasn’t.

                You often criticise people who challenge your posts on this site, this type of activity is why your posts often get reported, as Mr. F’s did.

                You’re just here for the sport mate, and I don’t mean football, there’s no need to be a tr*l

          • February 23rd 2018 @ 9:58am
            Nemesis said | February 23rd 2018 @ 9:58am | ! Report

            @Mr AFL… “spot the difference”?

            Seriously that’s the funniest post I’ve seen for a while on this forum.

            You actually provided us with evidence that proves how ridiculous your original post was.

            Keep up the good work. Stay away from more knocks to the head. Your issues can only get worse with further trauma.

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 8:00pm
        AR said | February 22nd 2018 @ 8:00pm | ! Report

        There must have been a thousand people wince when they read “congress review working group“.

        Ouch.

    • February 22nd 2018 @ 6:07pm
      Nick Symonds said | February 22nd 2018 @ 6:07pm | ! Report

      A diary clash?

      What’s next, did the dog eat the expansion criteria?

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 6:45pm
        marcel said | February 22nd 2018 @ 6:45pm | ! Report

        10/10 Nick

        • February 22nd 2018 @ 7:31pm
          Waz said | February 22nd 2018 @ 7:31pm | ! Report

          agree ?

    • February 22nd 2018 @ 8:10pm
      Nemesis said | February 22nd 2018 @ 8:10pm | ! Report

      I’d say Steven Lowy had business that’s a tad more significant.

      Westfield Corporation (ASX:WFD) today announced its full year results

      https://wcsecure.weblink.com.au/pdf/WFD/01953495.pdf

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 8:37pm
        Waz said | February 22nd 2018 @ 8:37pm | ! Report

        Yeah well, if he can’t manage both he should quit one of them. I don’t mind his work at Westfield so he can stay there for me.

        • February 22nd 2018 @ 8:49pm
          Nemesis said | February 22nd 2018 @ 8:49pm | ! Report

          You do realise the Board positions are non-paying? They all have other commitments. He’s co-CEO of one of the world’s biggest shopping centre conglomerates & this is the final Annual Results he’ll deliver for a company his father started.

          I know everyone hates Steven Lowy, but it’s churlish to suggest he’s not fully committed to FFA just because he had to do his full time job.

          • February 22nd 2018 @ 10:20pm
            Waz said | February 22nd 2018 @ 10:20pm | ! Report

            And he missed the A League Grand Final because? and a host of other football events previously because …?

            It’s not about “hating” it’s simply this, if Steven Lowy can’t find time for a game that is in crisis – and it is a crisis – then he should move on.

            • Roar Guru

              February 23rd 2018 @ 8:00am
              Grobbelaar said | February 23rd 2018 @ 8:00am | ! Report

              Crisis? What crisis?

          • February 23rd 2018 @ 12:19pm
            Kris said | February 23rd 2018 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

            Not to mention negotiating the $30 billion sale of Westfield’s shopping centres. Not attending major announcements at a time they are making their most significant business decision would be improbable.

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 8:39pm
        Rolly said | February 22nd 2018 @ 8:39pm | ! Report

        And there lies the problem he doesn’t have the passion his dad had for the game he is business man first .its time to go .

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