Football Federation Australia (FFA) will hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) this Thursday, 30 November, with members of the sport’s Congress to vote on a resolution that increases representation of professional clubs and players as well as introducing specific representatives for professional and grassroots women’s football for the first time.
FFA will also present its financial report for the 2016-17 financial year, included in FFA’s Annual Review, which can be viewed here.
The AGM is attended by the 10 Members of Congress – nine Member Federations and a representative of the professional clubs – as well as FFA’s board of directors.
FFA has been working with FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Australian football stakeholders for more than a year to find a formula for expansion that would gain enough support among Members to enable a change in the FFA’s Constitution. According to the Constitution, at least 75 percent of Members must vote in favour of a resolution to change the representation in Congress. To date the 10 Members of Congress – the only people allowed to vote – have been unable to agree on a model for expansion. FIFA has said it may intervene if changes are not agreed at the meeting.
FFA Chairman Steven Lowy AM said the board wanted to see Congress expanded on Thursday and further expanded in the future. He said it was also critical that the independence of the FFA board was protected because the governance structure of the sport had been the key to progress in recent years.
“Football in Australia has never been bigger or busier, as our Annual Review shows,” he said. “We’ve made massive progress over the past decade and a half since the governance structure was changed to create an independent board responsible for making decisions to benefit the whole of the game. That structure has provided stability and enabled investment and growth.
“Football is the biggest club-based participation sport in Australia, the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League have become part of the mainstream Australian sporting landscape in just a dozen years, the Matildas are about to go third or fourth in the FIFA world rankings, the Caltex Socceroos have just qualified for their fourth consecutive FIFA World Cup finals and we are working with the Federal Government on a bid for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023; imagine the legacy that would be left to the game if the Matildas won the FIFA Women’s World Cup on home soil. In the past year we have also signed a record broadcast deal with FOX SPORTS and agreed a number of significant new or renewed sponsorships with Hyundai, Westfield, McDonalds and rebel. These are great achievements for everyone involved.
“It’s in the best interests of the game if Congress Members vote in favour of expanding the Congress and improving representation in our sport. We then want to move urgently to resume working with the Hyundai A-League clubs and other stakeholders to create a new separate operating model for the A-League, a change which will be critical to growing our commercial base and introducing new teams to the competition.”
Mr. Lowy said that if Congress Members failed to pass the resolution on Congress expansion, FFA would talk to FIFA about alternative approaches to achieve that outcome. “FIFA has advised throughout the process that there is a range of possible actions and we would discuss what suits the circumstances in Australia and is in the best interests of the game.
“However our strong preference remains that Australian football moves forward together by passing the resolution.”