Football Federation Australia (FFA) has notified its Members of an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to vote on resolutions to change FFA’s constitution in order to expand representation on its Congress.
The current Congress is made up of the nine Member Federations which represent football regionally across Australia and a representative of the Hyundai A-League clubs giving it 10 members in all.
At various times over more than a year, FFA has been in discussion with the Member Federations who represent the grassroots of the game, the 10 professional clubs Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), as the representative of professional players, as well as FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) about expanding the Congress to improve representation.
The Congress is responsible for electing directors to FFA’s independent board as well as any amendments to FFA’s constitution.
FFA’s statutes, which are in line with Australian corporate law and FIFA’s own statutes, require a special majority to amend the constitution; that is, 75 percent of the members voting in favour of a resolution.
While recognising these statutory requirements, FIFA and AFC have urged FFA and its stakeholders to seek consensus on changes to the Congress. Although everyone supports expansion of the Congress and despite discussion over many months and talks facilitated by FIFA and AFC in August, FFA’s stakeholders have not reached an unanimous position over the model for change.
The nine Member Federations advised FIFA and AFC in September of their support for a 9:4:1:1 model.
Accordingly the resolutions in the EGM notice provide for a 9:4:1:1 model. Under the model being put forward the Hyundai A-League clubs’ voting share would increase from 1 vote to 4 votes. In addition the PFA and a representative of women’s football would be invited to become members and each hold one vote. Each of the nine Member Federations would hold one individual vote (bringing the total voting pool to 15). Under this model, loosely referred to as the “9:4:1:1 model” each Australian A-League club would be invited to become a member of the Congress and share equally in the Clubs’ four votes. As a result the size of the Congress at General Meetings would increase from the current maximum ten members to twenty members.
The professional clubs and the PFA (which is not currently represented on Congress and therefore does not have a vote) have expressed support for a model that would increase the Congress to 16 – made up of the nine Member Federations, five for the professional clubs, one for the PFA and one for women’s football.
As has been well publicised, FIFA and AFC have given FFA a deadline of November 30 to achieve an expanded Congress. For its part, FFA’s board has been focussed on two principles: the need to expand the Congress while maintaining the independence of the board. FFA’s constitution and independent board are cornerstones of the governance system of the sport in Australia.
In the absence of unanimity among the stakeholders on the best model for expansion, and mindful of the Member Federations’ advice to FIFA supporting a 9:4:1:1 model, the FFA Board has adopted in its resolution for the EGM a 9:4:1:1 model which enables FIFA/AFC’s timetable for an expanded Congress to be met.
There are also a number of other proposed changes to the constitution which will be dealt with as separate special resolutions at the meeting which will be held on November 1.