Following reports today via Vince Rugari of AAP (in The Guardian and Fairfax press), Emma Kemp of News Corp and Ray Gatt of The Australian of apparent attempts to 'derail' the Congress Review Working Group (CRWG) - which we also noted in our daily blog on the football news of the day - the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC) has endorsed the CRWG. 

In a strongly-worded statement, AAFC Chairman, Rabieh Krayem, said that if accurate, those involved “should hang their collective heads in shame”. 

The reports suggest that the state federations who are set to reject the CRWG's recommendations at the 7 September meeting of the existing FFA Congress are the Northern Territory, the ACT, Northern NSW and possibly Tasmania. 

The recommendations must be accepted by 75% of the existing membership in order to change the FFA Constitution.

If three state federations do not support them, they will not pass and the stalemate will continue.

In this instance, FIFA essentially has no option but to step-in and take the most drastic action of all - sacking the entire Board and bringing-in a Normalisation Committee as they have done in Argentina, Cameroon, Greece and Guinea. 

However, reports also suggest that the FFA Chairman, Steven Lowy, is considering his legal options on the basis of Australian corporate law if the CRWG's recommendations are agreed. Lowy and his Board would be counting on FIFA not wanting to fight a legal battle in Australia but, with a World Cup just finished, FIFA's reserves are at their predictable four-year high.

This would not only bring Australian football to a standstill, it would be expensive, effectively undermine the next A-League season at a time when FFA is seeking new investors in the professional game and, if FIFA and the AFC really wanted to play hard ball by suspending Australia from FIFA while a legal case was pending, it could possibly place in doubt the participation of the Socceroos in the Asian Cup in January and the Matildas in the World Cup next June.  

“This seems to me as if FFA’s Board and management do not like the Working Group’s recommendations and – somewhat ironically – are unable to accept the referee’s decision,” Krayem said.

“The fact is: the member federations were well represented on the Working Group. All state member federations voted for their four representatives, and all of them had every opportunity to be involved in the discussions, process and decision-making via those representatives.”

Krayem said he also did not understand the suggestion that FFA ‘does not believe the working group represents a fair and equal cross-section’ of the football community. 

“AAFC, whose clubs have a combined total of around 35,000 players involving 65,000 volunteer hours per week, met several times with Ms Griggs and the Working Group. 

“We know that some Working Group members did not want AAFC on the Congress and some do, but at least we had a fair hearing and a robust and constructive discussion about it.”

Krayem said he trusts that FIFA and the AFC will accept the report and recommendations of the Working Group for agreement by the existing FFA Congress on 7 September.

“Football in Australia wants and needs to be able to get on with the job to develop and grow the game with the entire football community working together. 

“These governance issues have more or less paralysed the game for too long. It’s an indictment on the game’s leadership that it apparently wants to continue to extend this paralysis even longer.”


Categories: News | Football Business

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