FFA and A-League clubs at deadlock as threat of FIFA sanctions hang over heated negotiations

A-League: Luke Wilkshire has started training with
Sydney FC after Graham Arnold convinced him to sign
with the Sky Blues.

FFA chairman Steven Lowy and FFA CEO David Gallop.
Picture: AAP

UPDATE: THE future of Australian football lies in the
hands of FIFA after talks to resolve the future leadership of
the game ended in vitriolic failure.

Football Federation Australia chairman Steven Lowy was accused
by the A-League clubs of intervening twice to “obstruct”
agreements struck over the future power structure of the game.

The clubs, who twice thought that they had reached agreement
with the state federations over the balance of power in FFA’s
Congress, denounced Lowy as FIFA’s visiting delegation flew out
with no deal struck.

Now the world governing body may be forced to appoint its own
leadership for the game in Australia after seeing the stark
divisions between the FFA board, the clubs and the states.

(L — R) FFA Chairman Steven Lowy and FFA CEO David Gallop

(L — R) FFA Chairman Steven
Lowy and FFA CEO David Gallop
Source:AAP

During 24 hours of unremitting drama, twice it seemed that a
deal had been agreed over how the votes would be distributed in
the Congress – the body that elects FFA’s board. But as the
parties exited FFA headquarters late on Thursday, it was clear
gridlock continues ahead of a deadline set by FIFA of November.

“We are bitterly disappointed at not having reached consensus
with our fellow stakeholders,” said Greg Griffin, chairman of
the Australian Professional Football Clubs Association.

“We are equally disappointed at the obstruction of this process
by the FFA board.”

After lengthy talks between the A-League clubs and the state
federations on Wednesday evening, Lowy called a snap meeting of
the state officials just before 10pm – and, it was claimed,
pressured them to accept a model giving the clubs far less
influence.

FFA Cup: Re-live all the Wednesday goals from the FFA
Cup.

As all of the game’s major stakeholders then convened together
for the first time early on Thursday – including Lowy and his
executives, the owners of the A-League clubs, the leaders of
the various state federations and the players’ union, along
with the delegation from FIFA –it became clear that the deal
agreed the night before was off.

As the angry clubs contested Lowy’s right to “undermine” a deal
agreed by the voters in the FFA Congress, as one senior figure
put it, talks described as unprecedentedly heated continued
until a lunchtime adjournment.

For 90 minutes the clubs and state federations retreated to a
conference room at the Pullman Hotel next to Hyde Park and
agreed another blueprint for reform – believed to centre around
an interim structure of nine votes for the states, five for the
clubs and one for the players, until an independent A-League is
established.

But it was claimed that again Lowy then sought a private
meeting with the state presidents, that went on for nearly two
hours, leaving club owners and FIFA’s delegation sidelined, and
the second deal was cancelled.

FFA Chairman Steven Lowy is trying to avert an A-League war.

FFA Chairman Steven Lowy is
trying to avert an A-League war.
Source:AAP

Now, with no deal agreed, FIFA has the option of sacking the
FFA board and installing a so-called “normalisation committee”
to run the game. The clubs now seem certain push for this, with
all trust between them and the FFA having evaporated.

So far Lowy’s proposed reform, of nine votes for the states,
the clubs getting an increase from one to three and the
players’ union getting one vote for the first time – has been
rejected by FIFA as not democratic enough.

“A wide range of options has been robustly discussed over the
past 48 hours,” a statement from Lowy read.

“Everyone, including the FFA Board, A-League club owners,
Member Federations and the PFA have shown willingness to move
from their original positions and this has been noted by the
FIFA/AFC delegation.

“FFA and the FIFA/AFC delegation have agreed not to make public
comment on the details of these proposals while discussions
continue. FFA is hopeful that an agreement can be reached to
enable the necessary procedural changes to achieve an expanded
Congress by the end of November.”

Originally published as
Football in crisis as talks fail

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