FIFA moves to end football’s civil war
AN 11th- hour bid will be made to avoid a FIFA takeover of Australian football early today after hours of talks to find a compromise solution to the game’s civil war.
All the stakeholders in the battle for control of the game will come together at Football Federation Australia’s headquarters, for what insiders have described as the first mass attempt to secure a deal over the voting structure of FFA’s Congress.
After a delegation from FIFA – sent to seek a compromise – met all parties at length yesterday, private discussions between the A- League clubs and heads of the state federations were due to continue late into the evening.
FIFA has warned that if agreement can’t be reached, it will effectively sack the FFA board and appoint a so- called “normalisation committee” to take over in the interim.
Two years after FIFA first warned FFA it needed to widen the voting structure of its membership, hopes of an agreed outcome were set to go down to the wire, with the three- man delegation from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation due to leave AustraliaA t li l late today. So far, a reform proposed by FFA chairman Steven Lowy ( pictured) – with the state federations keeping nine votes, the clubs getting an increase from one to three and the players’ union getting one vote for the first time – has been rejected by FIFA as not representative enough of the game.
The clubs have pressed hard for up to six votes, arguing they provide the bulk of the game’s income and need a far greater say in its running.
It is believed the outlines of a draft agreement were being d discussed by the clubs and the fe federations in the hope a compromise could be presented to FIFA today when all parties come together.
Whether that would require the imprimatur of Lowy remains to be seen, after the FFA chairman issued a hard line defence of his position on the weekend in a lengthy statement that attacked the clubs’ position.
All parties involved declined to comment yesterday, having agreed to maintain a public silence during the talks.
The impasse over voting reform – and a threat of legal action against FFA by the clubs over access to its accounts – have stymied months of talks over the future model of the A- League, whose owners have demanded a much increased central grant from FFA before next season, with
Lowy has accused them of seeking “a return to the bad old days of self interest”.