Australia’s football association has called an annual general meeting to try to ram through proposed governance changes in a last-ditch attempt to end a deadlock with club owners and avoid a FIFA takeover of the local game.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) said the AGM would be held on November 30, the same day as FIFA’s deadline for a governance shake-up. The global body has said it will install a ‘normalisation committee’ if the FFA failed to agree to a more democratic model for its Congress, which elects members to the executive board.
That would effectively mean sacking the FFA’s board and take over governance of the sport in Australia. A joint FIFA-Asian Football Confederation delegation came to Australia in August in a bid to help end the dispute but left without brokering an agreement.
The dispute centres on the membership of the Congress, which has representatives of the country’s nine states and territories but currently just one vote for all 10 clubs in the top-flight A-League and none for the players.
The clubs, who say they generate 80 percent of revenues for football in Australia, want at least five seats but the FFA have offered them only four.
The FFA tweaked its proposed model for the Congress, adding an extra voting delegate for “women’s football at the community level” in addition to the already tabled votes for representatives from the men’s and women’s professional ranks.
“The changes to FFA’s constitution respond to a request from FIFA,” the FFA said in a statement on Wednesday. “They will expand the size of the Congress and deliver greater diversity, significantly increase representation of the professional game and women’s football.”
The FFA was forced to postpone a proposed emergency general meeting last week after clubs and state unions demanded more time to discuss changes.