A-League clubs push to ban FFA from working group

Football Federation Australia chairman Steven Lowy, right, and chief executive David Gallop Source: Getty Images

A-League clubs will try to persuade a visiting FIFA delegation to ban Football Federation Australia from participating in the congress review working group being set up to fix Australian football's governance issues.

The clubs - FFA's primary nemesis - have started their individual meeting with a three-man FIFA/AFC delegation with an agenda extending far beyond the congress issue that's engulfed the domestic game for two years.

Without any FFA representatives in the room, the chairmen of the 10 clubs are set to tell the trio the organisation's board has effectively disqualified itself from participation due to what they perceive as a lack of good governance.

Having backed off from threats to replace FFA chairman Steven Lowy and his board with a 'normalisation committee', FIFA is back in Sydney to force democratic reform of its congress, which elects the FFA board.

The biggest challenge for the world governing body, which failed to oversee consensus for reform last August, is finding a diplomatic resolution to the stalemate between bitterly opposed protagonists FFA and the clubs.

Two FIFA representatives - Nodar Akhalkatsi and Luca Nicola - and the Asian Football Confederation's Ravi Kumar - are leading the talks to set up the composition and mandate of a 'congress review working group'.

It's understood the clubs, operating under umbrella body the Australian Professional Football Clubs Association, will push for the working review process to be complete by June 1, just before the World Cup starts.

They will also propose that the working group be comprised of three state member federations, two A-League clubs and one players' union representative, with special interest groups also ideally involved in the process.

If they have their way FFA will have no involvement, though this is likely to be met with firm opposition by Lowy and his board, which is due to meet with the delegation late on Wednesday afternoon.

It's believed the clubs will also lobby for other changes to FFA's governance, including greater financial transparency and more independent arbitration processes.

That's along with a re-negotiation of the legal framework currently binding clubs and players, such as the one obliging young A-League talent to report for Olyroos duty outside FIFA windows.

Earlier on Wednesday, the state federations attended their private meeting with FIFA, during which it's understood there were a number of differing suggestions floated regarding the objective, composition, mandate and timeline of the working group.

On Tuesday the delegation met with Professional Footballers Australia, the Association of Australian Football Clubs, referees, coaches, women's football and fans.

Source: AAP

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