Steven Lowy and his board are under-siege. Picture: Hollie Adams/The Australian
Steven Lowy and his board are under-siege. Picture: Hollie Adams/The Australian

FFA faces FIFA overthrow

FOOTBALL Federation Australia could leave itself open to being overthrown by FIFA with revelations some state federations are set to block sweeping governance reforms.

The group tasked with solving Australian football's civil war submitted its recommendations to FIFA on Tuesday night for likely approval, but those changes are set to be voted down once they return to Australia to be ratified.

It comes after a flurry of last-ditch lobbying of minor state federations in recent days, aimed at solidifying support for chairman Steven Lowy and the under-siege board.

Should that occur it would throw the decision back to FIFA, which would have to decide whether to go ahead with its long-held threats to remove Lowy and the board and implement the very normalisation committee it held back on early this year.

A 100-page document detailing expansive governance changes is back with FIFA after its congress review working group finished a proposal two months in the making.

Independent chairwoman Judith Griggs, who was mandated to oversee the process, was due to submit her universally accepted recommendations by Europe's close of business on Tuesday.

It is due now to be accepted by FIFA before being put before its member associations committee for approval in August.

Steven Lowy and his board are under-siege. Picture: Hollie Adams/The Australian
Steven Lowy and his board are under-siege. Picture: Hollie Adams/The Australian

That then leaves the current 10-person Australian congress, made up of nine votes for each member federation and one for the 10 A-League clubs, with the choice of either adopting or blocking it at a special general meeting before September 7.

As was the case in November's failed vote, an amendment to FFA's constitution is required to pass the changes, with 75 per cent - or eight of the 10 votes - needed for an in-favour vote.

Following a number of back-room conversations over the weekend, the ACT's Capital Football and Football Federation Northern Territory are both in FFA's corner.

Lowy is also believed to have the relative support of Tasmania and Northern NSW.

So intense was the lobbying, it's understood FIFA intervened, summoning all nine states to a conference call to reassure them of the virtues of the working-group's process.

FFA Chairman Steven Lowy and FIFA President Gianni Infantino. Picture: Toby Zerna
FFA Chairman Steven Lowy and FIFA President Gianni Infantino. Picture: Toby Zerna

FFA is understood to hold a starkly different view - that Lowy has every right to communicate with the member federations as his constituents.

Australia's peak body also does not believe the working group represents a fair and equal cross-section of the country's football community.

Regardless, the turn of events foreshadows another two months of wrangling between the code's factions and, ultimately, more speculation about FIFA's next move.

Normalisation or suspension are options, though Lowy has previously indicated he would not rule out legal action if that path was taken.

The working group was tasked with proposing a new structure for the FFA congress that includes a "broader and more balanced" representation of stakeholders to bring the governing body in line with FIFA's statutes.

The group has also taken into account other issues, including the governance model of the A-League, with clubs fixed on taking over the running of the stagnating competition from FFA, as well as the composition and independence of the FFA board.



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