FIFA backs working group on Australia reforms
SYDNEY (AP) — World governing body FIFA has endorsed the recommendations of a working group on the governance of Football Federation Australia, rejecting opposition from the FFA’s departing chairman Stephen Lowy.
In a letter to Lowy on Wednesday night, FIFA secretary-general Fatima Samoura said the world body supports sweeping changes recommended by the working group, which include the substantial enlargement of the FFA congress and establishment of a women’s congress.
Samoura said a proposal from the eight-person working group to expand the FFA congress were “fully in line” with FIFA statutes and should be adopted by FFA at an extraordinary general meeting as soon as possible.
Lowy, who has announced his decision to resign as chairman, has resolutely opposed the changes on the grounds they give too much power to owners of A-League clubs and to the players’ union, Professional Footballers Australia.
Australia’s four smallest state federations — ACT, Northern Territory, Northern New South Wales and Tasmania — also oppose the changes and could block them from passing at an EGM.
FIFA noted their opposition and said it would “reach out” to the dissenting states to address their reservations. Eight votes from the current 10-member FFA congress will be required at an EGM to implement the reforms.
If the working group recommendations are not passed, FIFA could sanction the FFA, potentially suspending Australia from international football until the situation is resolved.