The Board of Football Federation Australia (FFA) has not complied with the requirements of FIFA in its calling of an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to be held at the end of the month, according to the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC).
The AAFC claims that FFA has ignored the Association’s 120+ member clubs that participate in the national premier leagues competition around the country, despite FIFA requiring them to take account of all stakeholders.
“When we met with FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation, FFA, the state federations, the A-League clubs and the PFA in August, all parties agreed that there would be a mechanism in place for AAFC to join the FFA Congress over time,” said AAFC Chairman, Rabieh Krayem.
“As we understood that resolution to the long-running impasse regarding the FFA Congress was imminent, we agreed to take a step back from inserting our claims into those discussions in the best interests of football.
“We have waited patiently since August for the promised resolution.”
Krayem said it is now clear, with the calling of the EGM by FFA and the threat of legal action by the A-League clubs, that resolution is further away, not closer.
“So we’re saying ‘we want in’.
“We’re not prepared to sit back any longer and wait for the parties to reach an agreement because it’s abundantly clear that’s just not going to happen.
“Instead, we have written to the existing FFA Congress members to remind them of the commitment they made to our Association in the presence of FIFA and the AFC,” Krayem said.
“FIFA Statutes are crystal clear that a national association congress should be representative of its stakeholders.”
Krayem said that FIFA had also written to FFA on several occasions to remind them of the need to arrive at a consensus that would encompass all of its stakeholders.
“We are a significant stakeholder. Our 120 member clubs, all operating at the second tier of national competition, represent more than 30,000 semi-professional players, we’re responsible for prosecuting FFA’s development pathway for elite players, and there are many more thousands of volunteers who support the clubs’ operations.”
Krayem said that the AAFC is also keen to engage with all stakeholders about a proposed Second Division competition that was also discussed with FIFA and the AFC.
“We will have a proposed model ready for discussion with whoever will be the stakeholders come November.”
Krayem also said the AAFC has raised an objection to the proposal for a single representative of women’s football on the FFA’s Congress model.
“First, where will they draw such a representative from, when there is no legally constituted body concerned with women’s football?
“Second, FIFA Statutes require a commitment to gender equity in order to broaden the basis of input and advice at a strategy level – not a tokenistic single position to represent all women and the entirety of women’s football. This idea demonstrates that FFA doesn’t understand the intention behind FIFA reforms aimed at improving governance and management of the game.”
Krayem said AAFC’s letter to Congress members has also been sent to FIFA, the AFC and the PFA.
“We continue to have ongoing dialogue with FIFA and the AFC who have a deep understanding of the issues faced by Australian football stakeholders, and who are committed to ensuring the FFA Congress is the representative democracy it is supposed to be.”