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The development comes amid anger and significant concerns from the owners, who are demanding a “please explain” over the contents of a letter leaked to thesaturdaypaper.com.au in which Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop attempted to have meetings between world governing body FIFA and FFA stakeholders postponed on the basis they would come at a sensitive time and could affect negotiations for a new broadcasting rights deal.
As revealed exclusively by The Australian, a delegation from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation was in Sydney last week on a fact-finding mission and held talks with various stakeholders, including the clubs, Professional Footballers Australia and state and territory presidents, designed to bring FFA’s constitution into line with statutes used by FIFA for all its member associations around the world.
FIFA and the AFC are concerned FFA’s constitution does not allow for various stakeholders to have a stronger voice in the running of the sport in this country.
In the letter, which was reportedly sent in April, Gallop suggested that A-League clubs “don’t act in the interests of the game of football in Australia as a whole”.
“The importance of getting this (broadcast) negotiation process right and ensuring we secure the best deal for the sport cannot be overstated. The environment in which we conduct our broadcast marketing and negotiations needs to be optimal,” Gallop wrote to FIFA.
“What is also critical to appreciate about our governance model is that the A-League clubs in Australia are not ‘clubs’ in the more traditional European or South American sense.
“They are all privately owned and, as such, are ‘for-profit’ entities whose objective is to act in the interests of their shareholders (and in doing so build the sales value of their asset) and not act in the interests of the game of football in Australia as a whole.”
Infuriated club owners want to know if the letter is legitimate and, if it is, have asked for a copy.
Following last week’s FIFA-AFC meetings, which were held over two days, FFA issued a media release in which it said it had agreed to “in-principle” changes that would see it enlarge its voting structure to allow the sport’s stakeholders to have more representation.
The changes, however, were not greeted with enthusiasm by the A-League clubs.
While FFA believes the changes will make it compliant with FIFA’s statutes, it has emerged that they may not go far enough to appease the world body.
In a statement issued to The Australian last night, FIFA said its Associations Committee would be briefed on the outcome of the meetings on October 10.
“The agreed road map foresees that the FFA concludes its statutes alignment process by March 2017 to include a broader representation of stakeholders in its Congress,” the statement read. “Ultimately, it will fall upon FIFA to assess whether the FFA complies with its obligations based on art. 14 par. 1 let. f) and art. 15 let. j) of the FIFA Statutes.”
The situation has left FFA fighting on a number of fronts, although the drama involving the club chairmen looms as its biggest issue. It is no secret FFA and the club owners have not seen eye-to-eye for some time.
The A-League reportedly provides almost 80 per cent of FFA’s revenue and, as such, the clubs believe they are entitled to a greater say on how the competition is run.
As it stands now, they get just one vote out of 10. In effect, they have the same vote as the Football Northern Territory — a situation that understandably does not go down well with the clubs, who have invested almost $300 million in the A-League since it was formed in 2005.
At the very least, the clubs have argued to have a member on FFA’s independent board but the latest development suggests they will now accept nothing less than the formation of an independent commission, as is the case in the English Premier League, NRL and AFL, to run the A-League. ... See MoreSee Less
Disgruntled A-League owners have taken the drastic step of forming their own association as they step up their campaign for the introduction of an independent commission to run the national competitio...