The forces seeking democratic change in Australia's football governance believe the fate of arch-enemy Steven Lowy and his board is all but sealed.
By
Dave Lewis

7 Dec 2017 - 2:44 PM  UPDATED 7 Dec 2017 - 2:44 PM

While FIFA have opted to extend talks over the make-up of a new Congress, rather than impose a normalisation Committee to run the sport in Australia, the A-League clubs view FIFA's decision to send a second delegation to Australia in the New Year to oversee change as the next best thing.

FIFA sent a team to Sydney in August on a failed peace brokering mission, and are unlikely to tolerate a second unproductive journey to its distant football frontier.

In a letter to the FFA, FIFA's deputy Secretary General Zvonimir Boban made it clear that Zurich and the AFC will define the terms of reference of a Congress review working group which will make a final decision on the composition of a broadened constituency at the apex of the Australian game.

The Australian Professional Football Clubs Association - which represents all 10 A-League teams -  also welcomed the fact that FIFA had clarified that the FFA was not considered a stakeholder in the ongoing reform process.

Adelaide United chairman Greg Griffin said: "While this process should have been completed in March of this year, we welcome FIFA and AFC’s promised definitive intervention in and their commitment to a timely resolution. "Australia deserves a first-world congress aligned with the principles of representative democracy and recognizing the importance of gender equality."

In a swipe at the Lowy-led board which it's opponents believe has put self preservation above the development of the sport, Griffin added: "The FFA board needs to be accountable for their mishandling of this matter over the last 14 months and the way that our game has suffered as a result. 

"It is now glaringly obvious to all that the Gerrymander present within the FFA board must be ended and for the sake of the whole of the Australian football family a new democratic dynamic be installed, so the game can grow through a new era of collaboration among all stakeholders."

In a statement the APFCA added it welcomed "the fact that it will be FIFA and the AFC that will define the terms of reference of the Congress review working group – including its objectives composition, mandate and the timely completion of its work."

The APFCA also condemned an earlier statement released by FFA in which Lowy said: "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.

"In a wider sense, it will enable all Australian stakeholders to work together on a shared vision for our game at every level."

But a dismissive APFCA, which has joined forces with the PFA, and the Victoria and NSW State Federations to reject Lowy's version of reform, said it was "surprised and disappointed by the FFA Press statement issued today on this matter. 

"Its misleading nature and disconnect from the information clearly communicated by the FIFA Deputy Secretary General in his correspondence, is indicative of the approach the FFA board and senior management has exhibited consistently with regard to the Congress Reform matter."