The Lowy era at Football Federation Australia (FFA) looks to have come to end after soccer’s world governing body’s endorsed sweeping changes to the sport’s local workings.
FIFA has endorsed proposed governance reforms for FFA and urged the four state federations who are threatening to block them to change their minds.
FIFA secretary-general Fatima Samoura wrote a letter on Wednesday night (AEST) to FFA chairman Steven Lowy, informing him of the global body’s support for changes recommended by the eight-member congress review working group (CRWG).
It effectively sounds the death knell for Lowy’s leadership of the sport, following his announcement last week he would not seek re-election as chairman if the reforms were passed.
As expected, Samoura said the proposals to expand the FFA congress were “fully in line” with FIFA statutes and directed them to be adopted by FFA at an extraordinary general meeting as soon as possible.
Lowy and his board are firmly against them, arguing they will give disproportionate power and control to A-League club owners and the players’ union, Professional Footballers Australia.
And four of the smallest state federations in the country – the ACT, NT, Northern NSW and Tasmania – are aligned with their views and prepared to block the changes from passing.
FIFA noted their opposition and said its administration had been encouraged to “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 CRWG’s reforms.
It’s understood there are currently six definite votes in favour. They are the four states who were part of the CRWG – Victoria, South Australia, NSW and Western Australia – as well as Queensland and the A-League clubs, who possess one vote between them.
Lobbying attempts are reportedly being made to win over Northern NSW and Tasmania, while according to SBS, there is an effort underway in the ACT to unseat Capital Football chairman Mark O’Neill, who is seen as a staunch Lowy ally, from his position.
If the CRWG’s recommendations are not passed FIFA will be forced to take drastic action, which could see them potentially suspending Australia from international football until the situation is resolved.