The FFA has announced a delay in the expansion of its congress after its own preferred model of an expanded congress failed to garner the necessary support to pass by the initial deadline of 31 March.

The congress has the power to elect the FFA’s independent board and to change the constitution, and FFA has been under pressure from FIFA and the AFC to expand its current congress of 10 votes to incorporate greater representation of various stakeholders in the game in this country.

The current congress of 10 votes is comprised of nine votes from the member federations and one vote from the A-League clubs. The FFA board doesn’t have a vote.

The FFA’s preferred model of an expanded congress was for 13 votes comprised of nine from the member federations, three from the A-League clubs and one from the Professional Footballers Association (PFA). This model failed to get the 75 per cent agreement necessary to pass at an EGM.

It has been reported on The World Game website that the A-League clubs wanted a 16-vote congress with nine votes for the member federations, five votes for the A-League clubs and two votes for the PFA.

Interestingly, no mention of the newly formed NPL club association (Association of Australian Football Clubs – AAFC) was included in the FFA’s preferred model or the model proposed by the A-League clubs. AAFC chairman Tom Kalas told Neos Kosmos, “We’re disappointed with the FFA delaying the congress meeting as there are many issues to work through and then to agree upon necessary changes that are needed to improve the football ecosystem in Australia.”

When asked how confident he was that the AAFC would eventually be included in FFA’s expanded congress, Kalas replied, “FIFA has contacted the FFA and ‘requested that the AAFC needs to be anchored in the congress as a key stakeholder.’ Despite the delay I feel in time they will see the benefit of our inclusion.”

Speaking on the FFA website, FFA chairman Steven Lowy said “FFA wants to see an expanded congress for Australia that reflects the way the game is evolving in this country but also safeguards the significant progress made through the reforms of 12 years ago.

“We have kept FIFA and AFC briefed on progress to date and they understand that the current congress members and other stakeholders need more time to consider these matters.

“We will continue to facilitate the dialogue to push for a resolution of these discussions but all stakeholders recognise that the issues require careful examination on a number of levels. Our next annual congress meeting is due in November and we have agreed with FIFA and AFC to find a resolution with our stakeholders and to ensure there is an expanded FFA congress at our AGM in November.”