JULY 7 2017
In case matters could not get any more embarrassing for Football Federation Australia, the organisation is set to be given a lesson in democracy from a North Korean official.
A delegation of administrators from the Asian Football Confederation and FIFA is set to arrive in Australia this month as part of a mission to expand the FFA congress to become more inclusive and could likely include representatives from two autocratic nations.
It follows the inability of the FFA board and chairman Steven Lowy to reach consensus with stakeholders for an expanded membership tier required by world football’s governing body.
As part of the joint mission to Australia with the AFC will be representatives from FIFA’s Member Associations Committee, which includes Han Un Gyong from North Korea – one of the least democratic nations in the world.
After months of stalling and failing to show significant flexibility to grow the games’ congress, FIFA’s patience with the FFA ran out on Thursday when they rejected Lowy’s proposal.
The 14-person FIFA member association committee met with the FFA on July 4 to discuss their proposal and on Thursday unanimously rejected it on the grounds of insufficient representation of a wide range of stakeholders, inclusion and lack in gender equality.
In recommending assisting the FFA to become more democratic with a joint mission was Han and Sheik Al Wahaibi from the monarchy of Oman.
The FFA congress is the organisation’s membership tier, which has the power to elect and nominate members to the board. The FFA congress has only 10 seats, nine for the state member federations and one for the A-League clubs.
Under orders from FIFA following long-held complaints from Australian stakeholders, the FFA was forced to expand its membership to become more inclusive.
The FFA proposed a 13-seat congress allowing two more seats for the clubs and one for the players union, the PFA, (9:3:1 model) which gained the support of seven states, conditional support from Victoria and was turned down by NSW, A-League clubs and the PFA.
All three were calling for a greater inclusion of a minimum 15-seat congress giving the clubs and PFA greater influence and gained the support of FIFA, who rejected the FFA model.
FIFA’s decision to intervene and assist the FFA in reaching consensus for a new governance structure is an ominous warning for the tenure of Lowy, who will be forced to accept a devolution of power to many of those who wish to see his removal from the board, or else face removal by world football’s governing body.
FIFA have given the FFA little more than four months to reach a consensus with its stakeholders for an appropriate new membership tier before they will send in a Normalising Committee on November 30 to remove the board and put in place temporary administrators to oversee a transition of governance.
Head office in Zurich has shown its willingness to do so in two previous occasions in the past year, putting in place Normalising Committees in Argentina and Guinea.
The looming intervention from FIFA has been welcomed by the Australian Professional Football Clubs Association, representing the 10 A-League clubs who believe the joint mission is the first step towards breaking their bitter impasse with the FFA
“We welcome the decision from FIFA and we will continue to deal with the stakeholders in good faith as we have done throughout to achieve a democratic outcome,” APFCA chairman Greg Griffin said.
Source : The Canberra Times