Fans seek voice after FFA given reprieve in Australia football gridlock
Coaches and fans could be the next stakeholders given a seat at an expanded Football Federation Australia congress table as FIFA prepares to wade into the sport's governance gridlock.
A delegation of officials from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation will visit Australia in the New Year to take charge of a "congress review working group" and resolve a months-long political dispute.
The visit means FFA chairman Steven Lowy and board have been spared the axe and the ignominy of being replaced by a "normalisation committee" -- at least for the time being.
The FIFA and AFC delegation will meet with the state federations, A-League clubs and players' union to discuss how an expanded FFA congress should look and how to bring it about.
The officials will also seek meetings with "any other relevant interlocutors" and named the Australian Association of Football Clubs (AAFC) -- the lobby group representing more than 100 state league clubs that is pushing for a national second division -- as an example.
Two other newly-formed special interest groups will also join the jostling for a vote in the congress -- Football Coaches Australia (FCA), and Football Supporters Australia (FSA).
FCA were only formed last month, but a spokesperson said they have already informed FIFA's member associations committee of their existence and were due to meet with FFA officials on Monday.
FSA was also established in early November and their interim board believes football fans should also have voting rights, as is the case in Germany and England.
Australia's coaches and supporters have never before had a voice at a decision-making level.
But depending on how FIFA manages the process, the AAFC, FCA and FSA could all be part of a larger, more inclusive FFA congress within months.
FIFA has been pushing FFA for nearly two years to expand their membership to recognise other special interest groups like referees, futsal and even beach soccer.