Lowy, FFA avoid sack but FIFA takes reins

Australian soccer boss Steven Lowy has been granted a stay of execution but FIFA will be well in charge when it returns down under to lead bitterly divided stakeholders through more negotiations.

 

A complete FIFA takeover is off the table for now but the fate of the Football Federation Australia chairman - who has not ruled out legal action if ousted - remains in the balance.

Football's world governing body says it will "define the terms of reference" for a new congress review working group seeking to broker a compromise on the future of the local game.

Australia's warring factions had been waiting nervously for a takeover following last week's stalemate on an expanded congress while the body, which elects FFA's board, has long been deemed undemocratic by FIFA.

The A-League clubs, players' union and the women's game have all meanwhile been campaigning for a bigger voice.

Lowy is safe for now. Image: AAP

Three days after FIFA discussed the protracted affair in Zurich, FFA received a letter from deputy secretary general Zvonimir Boban without mention of a normalisation committee.

It made clear intervention would still occur but of a softer nature.

Boban said FIFA would allow a congress review working group provided FIFA and AFC were fully involved and there was "a clear roadmap ensuring a timely conclusion with the adoption of a more inclusive and representative membership model".

To that end, FIFA and AFC officials will return to Sydney in the new year seeking compromise from the deeply opposed parties over the make-up of the congress votes.

They will first meet with the stakeholders, which the letter again explicitly named as the member federations, A-League clubs and Professional Footballers Australia.

Discussions will also happen with the Association of Australian Football Clubs, the body that represents the NPL and has been vying for a seat at the table on the congress.

Based on that feedback, the delegation will then "define the terms of reference of the congress review working group, which include its objective, composition, mandate and timeline".

An FFA release on Thursday painted the picture rather more like a win for the under-fire Lowy, implying FFA would be establishing the working group itself.

"FIFA's ruling gives all of us a chance to take a fresh look at how the congress can best represent the Australian football community, with the direct involvement of FIFA and AFC officials in that process," Lowy said.

"In a wider sense, this process will enable all Australian stakeholders to work together on a shared vision for our game at every level."

The Australian Professional Football Clubs Association (APFCA), representing the A-League clubs, slammed the release as "misleading".

"It is now glaringly obvious to all that the gerrymander present within the FFA board must be ended," said APFCA chairman Greg Griffin.

Back To Top
feedback