Brisbane fans roar their disapproval
When Brisbane Roar fans were not consulted, they took matters into their own hands and staged an intervention21 March 2018 | FT Editor
While the various recognised stakeholders within Australian football - the state federations, the A-League clubs, the PFA, the AAFC and others - await the verdict of FIFA's Member Associations Committee in relation to the next steps of the Congress Review Working Group, the Brisbane Roar Supporters Federation has taken advantage of the delay with their own intervention.
In an open letter to both FIFA and the AFC, the Roar Supporters Federation notes that they didn't receive an invitation to meet with the parties when visiting Sydney earlier this month for talks with all stakeholders. FFA did invite supporters' groups - via the A-League clubs - and were also represented by the nascent Football Supporters Australia who are attempting to be an umbrella group for the individual club supporters groups.
The letter states that the last-minute attempt to include supporters was typical of FFA's management of the game.
"The FFA exercise a vice-like grip in controlling everything to do with football in this country. We do not believe the FFA treat football supporters as stakeholders in the game nor do they seek, or value, input from football supporters into matters relating to the game," it states.
In light of the snub, the Roar Supporters' Federation (RSF) conducted a members' survey to gauge their opinion on a number of issues with a commitment to inform FIFA and AFC of the outcome. The key points arising from the professionally produced survey report are:
- Football supporters should have a voice in a newly configured Congress.
- There should be a women's football representative on the Congress "free of control or oversight from the FFA and state federations".
- FFA should do more to invest in football infrastructure at all levels of the game.
- FFA structures do not "deliver appropriate outcomes" for all levels of the game, especially as the voice of all stakeholders is not heard.
- A large majority of member support the principle of an independent A-League as long as there are "adequate checks and balances".
- Members support the development of a national second division as proposed by AAFC, and this should also be independent of FFA.
- There is "overwhelming" support for the concept of promotion and relegation between the A-League and the proposed national second division.
The RSF wrote that their members’ survey "revealed deep frustrations with the way in which the game is run and governed in this country", saying it is time for change.
"The FFA has had ample warnings and opportunity to change but it has deliberately and consciously decided against it. Therefore, our members now put faith in FIFA and the AFC to ensure that necessary change occurs and occurs quickly.
"As supporters we feel alienated by the attitude and behaviour of the FFA and the individuals there who have both power and control. The mistrust between supporters of this game and those in authority cannot be overstated – as stakeholders, football supporters are disregarded, mistreated, and generally ignored by the FFA."
The RSF also requests that once the governance changes are in place, that elections are held for all Board positions, including for the Chairman.
"It is inconceivable that undemocratically elected Board members continue to govern in a newly configured, and democratic, structure. It will be unacceptable if democracy appears in name only."
The spokespersons for the Roar Supporters' Federation, Chris McAlister and Richard Moss, said they also encourage FIFA/AFC should contact other supporters' organisations for their input also as they believe the views expressed by their members would be replicated within other clubs.
ffa governance, brisbane roar, a-league, roar supporters federation