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SBD Global/August 24, 2017/International Football

FIFA Reminds Football Federation Australia It Is Not A Stakeholder In Reform Process

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FIFA "placed the future of Australian football firmly back in Football Federation Australia's court" and issued a "subtle reminder it is not a stakeholder in the political reform process," according to the AAP. It comes as Professional Footballers Australia on Wednesday wrote to state member federations stating it had "received member backing for a compromised expanded congress model in which it would get only one vote." In a letter dated Aug. 22, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura described this month's "heated meetings" in Sydney as "productive and fruitful," implying there are "no plans at this stage to disband the FFA board" before the Nov. 30 deadline it has imposed. The letter said, "While Fifa and AFC remain committed to providing you with our continued and full support, the responsibility -- as communicated by the joint Fifa/AFC visit in line with the aforementioned decision of the Fifa Member Associations Committee -- to reach agreement on a consensual membership model lies with FFA and the stakeholders (member federations, A-League clubs and PFA)." On three separate occasions in the letter, Samoura specifically identified the stakeholders as the state member federations, A-League clubs and the PFA. FFA, which held a board meeting on Wednesday, "maintained its position that board directors have a right to be actively involved in any debate about the structure of the board they sit on" (AAP, 8/23). In Sydney, Ray Gatt reported FIFA is determined that FFA's congress "is brought in line" with all its member federations around the world -- one that provides for a "far wider representation of stakeholders than is currently in place in Australia." As it stands now, the FFA congress is made up of 10 votes -- nine for the federation members and one for the ­combined 10 A-League clubs. They have the power to nominate and "vote in members" of FFA's independent board. FIFA wants a "more inclusive congress model" that would ­include votes for the likes of PFA, the women's game and other stakeholders such as futsal and the referees (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/24).

STEERING CLEAR: The AAP also reported Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou does not "want any part of the governance dispute." But he is "confident -- one way or another -- football will thrive in the country." Postecoglou "has been conspicuous in his absence from the debate, which could have huge ramifications" for Australian football. He said, "I've stayed out of it. I think my role is to make sure we do well over the next couple of games and see this team and our nation play at the next World Cup. That's where I fit into the puzzle. ... I'm not fearful of the health of the sport. The sport has had far greater issues than it's had at the moment" (AAP, 8/23).
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