FIFA has given Football Federation Australia and its chairman Steven Lowy a stay of execution by not recommending to disband the FFA board following the failed expansion of the organisation’s congress.
FIFA will still intervene, when it and the Asian Football Confederation travel to Sydney early next year to oversee and mediate a final round of talks hoping to end the bitter impasse of Australian soccer politics.
After failing to meet a November 30 deadline to reach a consensus for a new expanded and more representative congress, the FFA board was facing removal at the hands of FIFA to be replaced by a normalisation committee that would temporarily govern the Australian game.
While that remains a possible outcome, FIFA have opted for a soft intervention allowing FFA and Lowy a final chance to survive the congress dispute. It’s likely a delegation from FIFA and the AFC will take leadership of the working group with the aim to reach a consensus among all stakeholders for a new inclusive and representative membership tier of the FFA that satisfies the requirements of FIFA.
“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.”
However, he still faces an uncertain future after FIFA and the AFC recommended establishing a Congress Review Working Group that could involve more stakeholders and opponents of the current regime to be included in an expanded congress.
Fairfax Media understands FIFA wrote to Australian stakeholders this week and indicated their willingness to involve an organisation representing the semi-professional and former National Soccer League teams as part of the working group. The Association of Australian Football Clubs are set to be invited by FIFA to the talks for a new congress for the first time, joining the nine state member federations, the A-League clubs and the Australian players’ union (The PFA) in the talks.