FIFA’s Member Associations department is ramping up support for a large restructure of n football’s governance as Football Federation comes under increasing pressure to relinquish control.
Fairfax Media can reveal the governing body of world football is becoming more active in the long-term push for promotion and relegation, beginning with the establishment of a national second tier as well as giving National Premier League clubs a seat at the FFA congress.
An Association of n Football Clubs alliance of at least 81 of the 129 NPL clubs came with the blessing of FIFA, who are now offering active support to the organisation ahead of Monday’s meeting in Melbourne to define their objectives and course to establish a second division.
The Member Associations department is understood to be impressed by the speed the AAFC has gathered pledged membership of more than two-thirds in just a week, where they jokingly compared their advancements to uprisings, labelling it “the n spring”.
Led by the head of Member Associations, Luca Nicola, sources suggest the department is arranging talks with the 641-member European Club Association to bolster their bid, not limited to establishing by-laws for the AAFC.
The developments apply increasing pressure on the FFA to include the NPL clubs in talks over a governance restructure of their congress, and could bring them to the table to fast-track a second division below the A-League.
An FFA source told Fairfax Media they are “conscious of the fact FIFA is out there”, closely monitoring the restructure talks and becoming more active in the NPL clubs’ push for a seat at the congress and the establishment of a national second tier.
At Friday’s talks between the FFA, nine state football federations, representatives of the 10 A-League clubs and the players’ union, it is understood the first proposal tabled by the FFA for an expanded congress failed to receive three-quarters of support required to pass.
The current model of 10 votes – nine from the state bodies and just one representing the A-League clubs – was ordered by FIFA to be expanded to become more inclusive with a deadline of March 31 imposed. The FFA’s first proposal was understood to be for a 14-seat congress, increasing the A-League club’s representation to three votes and one from the PFA.
Sources suggest that was knocked back by Football NSW, Football Federation Victoria and the A-League clubs who appear to have formed an alliance against the FFA and the seven other state federations. The two biggest state federations and the body representing the money-generating competition are calling for an absolute minimum expanded congress of 15, more likely 17.
The relationship between the FFA and those two state federations is understood to have weakened with sources suggesting FFA chairman Steven Lowy invited FNSW to a third private meeting regarding the congress, only to be knocked-back.
The FFA released a statement on Friday suggesting the talks were constructive while not reaching a conclusion. “Everyone was able to explain their position today as part of a frank and very constructive discussion. There was discussion on many points, including the relevance of intended changes to the ownership and operating model of the Hyundai A-League to the make-up of an expanded congress,” Lowy said in a statement.
“On the few matters where different views are held, everyone agreed to go back to their own boards to consider the path forward. Discussions will continue next week.”