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FFA Congress War 2017 – The need for greater transparency.

Posted by cegan on October 18, 2017

The 2017 FFA Congress War has been reported widely, but transparency from all parties has been lacking. A mob view was created without an insight or reason for change. We just got told that A-League clubs needed a fair vote on congress.

Why are A-League club’s issues more important than every other stakeholder within our game? How will they use any increased power they get from congress reform? What are the FFA doing so badly which requires this to be so important? Why wasn’t it as big an issue five years ago?

Many of these questions have yet to be answered.

I have been public in calling for Steven Lowy to resign, my view formulated by the position that if you have created a financial crisis within the game via ignorance you no longer have a mandate to run soccer in this country. It was reason to impeach Labbozzetta, it should be the case for Lowy.

However, I covered the story that was unveiled to me, whether it advantaged my set perspective or not. I received information from all the parties in the war because of this.

I told sources from the FFA that I believed Steven Lowy should resign. During an hour long conversation I ranted about the failures of his tenure.

I still received information from this source and investigated the issues regardless of consequences to the set position I had.

Too often the coverage of this war has been agenda driven, perspectives of the soccer media became engrained on the information that was given to them. Their desires for change, skewed the story.

Daily coverage of the crisis became more about who was being fed information from set sources to deliver on a particular agenda. It became a feed me situation, rather than an investigate and scrutinise scenario.

In the 1995 Election (the one I have researched the most) David Hill was scrutinised publically on SBS’s The World Game Program with other candidates. Despite there being backroom deals that secured victory for Hill, there was a greater degree of public scrutiny of how each candidate’s position would change the trajectory of the game in this country.

In 2017, we have yet to hear how the game in this country becomes better with more A-League representation on the Congress. All we have heard is the need for Congress reform.

Now that the A-League club’s and to a lesser extent the State Federations of NSW and Victoria are on the back foot, it may be an idea to prosecute a caimpaign that articulates a reason for the Football community of Australia to back the changes in congress.

Tell us why 9-5-1-1 is so critical for the game’s future.

By Chris Egan

 

 

 

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November 1st D Day should deliver victory to Lowy

Posted by cegan on October 16, 2017

November 1st, the D Day that should see Steven Lowy claim victory in the brutal congress war. While months ago A-League club’s expected FIFA to take over the running of Australian Football, it will now deliver Steven Lowy another term as Chairman.

The only challenge to this  narrative is if the Kimon Taliadoros led Football Federation of Victoria reverse their vote at the EGM. This would be unexpected considering the links and ties between Kimon Taliadoros and Steven Lowy.

While November 30th was bandied about as the day that FFA needed to get a consensus vote through via an EGM, the timeline was actually a lot shorter .

FIFA was preparing to run the game in Australia from November 1st. Within A-League club circles November 1st was seen as D-Day.

It was the confidence of the combatants that was so surprising when I met them. A few months ago there was no variables, A-League clubs were going to get the prized scalp of Steven Lowy . The Congress was less about negotiations and more about removing Lowy.

The A-League club’s agreed on a strategy to have a united position that Lowy would never agree on. Push and be inflexible to negotiations that would  deliver an unpalatable option for Lowy. This would ensure he would stand down or have the A-League club’s use their increased power to reform Australian Football in their vision, away from the scrutiny of the Lowy regime. A regime scared by the past experiences of the NSL.

It was this confidence that has left the A-League clubs scrambling for another strategy as reported by many in the football media.  These clubs did not expect the unexpected to be revealed which would distort their ambitions from becoming reality.

Steven Lowy did.

Lowy has a rather romantic view of the fourth estate and he was waiting for extra information to call an EGM. When Lowy received the information on the disturbances in Western Australia via this blog , he acted quickly.

Without the information on the desires for the WA rebel clubs to begin a national second division, the whole trajectory of this war would have gone down the pathways predicted to me a few months ago during meetings with some A-League clubs.

One where there was no vagaries to the view that they had defeated Steven Lowy.

All players have been wheeling and dealing, not just the state federations. Victoria have a generally accepted view as Kingmaker from all sides and may get a third A-League side secured via deals to secure their vote at the EGM on November 1st.

This is not historically unusual, Perth Glory was created via the Soccer Administration of Western Australia having the Kingmaker role in the 1995 Election.

It will take something extraordinary for the trajectory of history to be shifted away from a Lowy victory.

By Chris Egan

 

 

 

 

 

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Why the civil war won’t go on forever

Posted by cegan on October 15, 2017

There are many who are claiming that Australian Soccer’s Civil War will go for a while. I have my doubts.

On Saturday I appeared on radio and I spoke about the issues that have led to this crisis and the historical context this civil war is situated in amongst the plethora of battles the world game has had.

From my sources, we are in the post-battle. The A-League club’s see that it is going to be increasingly difficult to get rid of Steven Lowy and that even if they get NSW State Federation to vote with them at the EGM on the 1st November, it is unlikely Victoria votes against a consensus agreement that was made just a few weeks ago with other Member Federations.

The next few weeks will be heated, but my concern is that we learn nothing from the war to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Will A-League club’s talk about the NPL structure and the lack of money being returned to the grass roots clubs? Will the FFA acknowledge the NPL system is not meeting KPI objectives that would be set in a corporate world that many of the board directors operate in?

But most critically, what does FIFA do to unite the troops? My understanding is that FIFA will side with the FFA in this crisis. There is no good v evil battle in this war,  just club’s all around the country angry and trying to shape the game in their vision.

I understand that FIFA will come to the conclusion that 9-4-1-1 is the best result you can hope for in a climate such as this one. It will accept the argument that Lowy has made to make it even broader than his adversaries have presented. If implemented we will start to see a congress that better represents all Australian’s, rather than those with the most amount of money.

While I may be wrong, those who are still fighting for a revolution to occur, would be better off trying to reform the game to service the five year old kids and power chair participants at the bottom segments of the game.

These are the members of the community whose voices are rarely listened too in a game which has the elite making decisions without consultations with the mere commoners who dominate the football landscape in this country.

By Chris Egan

 

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Victoria/NSW see the Lowy regime as a handbrake on the Games’s growth

Posted by cegan on October 12, 2017

The Victorian and New South Wales State Federations are desperate to get rid of Steven Lowy. It has been a balancing act to deliver a result quickly and support the reduction in power for Steven Lowy.

The power games that come from Football Federation Australia are all encompassing – it is a bit like one of those managers that look over your every move.

The NSW and VIC Federations, financially and in the whole picture of soccer are going nicely. While Victoria’s player participation has levelled off over the last few years it is because they have run out of pitches.

I do wonder what the FFA are doing about this?

In any deals that the Victorian Federation look to swap in order to vote for the Lowy regime in the EGM, scrapping the NPL and working on the infrastructure defecit within our game nationally would be a good one to start with.

It’s a hallmark of our game where we ignore the biggest problems and tackle issues where the powerbrokers have their own self-interest.

NSW and VIC State Federations do have the best interests of their constituents at heart.

This is not about Promotion/Relegation, A-League Clubs for these states, its about the freedom to grow the game and not have the Lowy regime looking over their shoulder in every decision they make.

Other states have bigger issues to worry about and thus they have no difficulty in siding with the Lowy regime.

By Chris Egan

 

 

 

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Just when I thought the war was over

Posted by cegan on October 11, 2017

The Australian Soccer Civil War has become even more bizarre. Just as I expected that the situation had settled to a foregone conclusion I received information Wednesday Night that the Victorian and New South Wales Member Federations have reserved their votes.

Lowy at this point in time does not have 75% of the congress to pass through the resolutions from the Extraordinary General Meeting.

Where does this go?

So many twists and turns over the last week, I really do not know.

Do NSW and VIC Federations want to be kingmakers?  How will the other Member Federations react to the news that NSW and VIC have now ‘reserved’ their votes upon a full board meeting on the issue.

For the NSW and Victorian boards, FIFA are not happy and the letter of a few weeks ago that has been brandished around is no longer relevant to the current status of the war.  The proposed rebel competition in WA has shifted their attitudes significantly.

The battlelines that currently split the game will leave a permanent legacy on our game’s future. Trust will take a long time to be re-built.

Whoever becomes the victor in this mess, will lead a code in utter disarray.

 

 

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Steven Lowy may have survived the war

Posted by cegan on October 9, 2017

Steven Lowy has called an Emergency General Meeting for the 30th October 2017. In a turn that surprised Member Federations, late Monday afternoon Lowy called an EGM based on two issues.

  1. The Congress and the makeup of the Congress
  2. The AAFC’s role in the disturbances to create a rebel league in Western Australia

On this, Lowy sees that he will survive as the State Federations will back him in on the sanctity of the national competition. It will also spell the end of a national second division to be incorporated quickly.

One source has said that Lowy will tell FIFA that it will impart congress reform over time which will be accepted.

While a few days ago Steven Lowy was on rocky ground, it looks as though he has survived this brutal war. The court challenge from Adelaide United, if conducted is not expected to win in court.

I hope Steven Lowy learns from this experience and I will be earnestly critiquing the processes of reforms within Australian Football which must come.

If Lowy can not reach for better governance and transparency within the game he must give a timeline for his own departure. We can not afford another experience like this to rock the game.

By Chris Egan

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The major battles in Australian Football

Posted by cegan on October 8, 2017

So this blog is to outline the current fights within Australian Football. There will be some I am not aware of, but these are the major battles at present.

Lowy/SA,QLD, ACT, TAS v A-League, VIC, NSW,AAFC, PFA – On Congress discussions the allies have been done on this break up over the past few months. It did incorporate WA but there may be changes coming due to the warfare between some of their clubs and the governing body. If the FFA backed alignment loses Western Australia it will make it more difficult for the national congress to be shaped in Lowy’s image.

Football West/WA v AAFC – While AAFC are not technically involved in this fight, it involves Western Australian AAFC clubs who have signed up for a national second division. One of the Directors of AAFC is also the chairman of the NPL Standing Committee which are locked in tough negotiations with Football West.

It may influence Football West’s decision making for the warfare that is occurring on the congress makeup. This should come to the fore in the next week. If a Rebel League comes out of this, it creates new variables for the end results of this war – there will be a sanctioned national second division if the A-League club’s win increased power. WA will be the first domino to fall in the AAFC’s national strategy. While AAFC don’t want media attention, Western Australian club’s are desperate to get rid of the oversight of their state federation. Football West will be consumed with this battle overiding the national congress issue.

Federal Government v AAFC/A-League/Some State Federations

The Federal Government want to keep Lowy in power. They want to ensure their legacy is presevered.  It is in their interest to do whatever they can to prevent the revolutionaries winning.

More variables will come out, but the next week will see interesting developments occur in Western Australia which will influence the next moves nationally.

Getting rid of Lowy is not a silver bullet to an end of the fractures and division.

This warfare could become a prolonged event.

By Chris Egan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The battle of Australian Soccer’s future moves west.

Posted by cegan on October 7, 2017

Australian Soccer went through a tumultuous Saturday as eight Western Australian NPL club’s sent through an ultimatum to Football West that they sought permission to operate a new league.

Western Australia is on the brink of a rebel league, which has been in the planning stages for a few years. The warfare in Australian Soccer could deliver an autonomous A-League and National Second Division with the State Federations sidelined.

It led to internal discussions within Football West on how it would handle these club’s who are preparing to leave the National Premier League . These clubs are part of AAFC, however have had long-standing concerns with Football West governance.

On Friday a Director from one NPL club in Perth confirmed that they were seeking permission to be part of a National Second Division.

By late Saturday Night, I was informed that Football West are now giving concessions to the ‘group of eight’ to stop them from leaving the NPL. Whether or not it is too late, remains to be seen.

Agreements have already been signed, but in this war, you never know what could happen next.

By Chris Egan

 

 

 

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The blame game starts

Posted by cegan on October 5, 2017

After the revelations I revealed on Sunday about A-League club’s having pushed the nuclear button of FIFA intervention, they have been quick to start to blame the State Federations for the congress being spilt.

The congress is only being spilt because the owner’s of the A-League club’s got FIFA involved. The congress being spilt has resulted in a repeat of the massive brawls of Australian Soccer’s past.

The article by David Lewis on the world game website was suggesting that A-League clubs were pressurising the State Federations to abandon the 9-4-1-1 model.

This model had been agreed upon at the fateful Wednesday meeting.

My sources from State Federations suggest at this meeting State Federations and A-League clubs passed a no-confidence motion in Steve Lowy due to a lack of trust. It had broad agreement at this meeting for 9-4-1-1.

In the world of A-League club’s who have businessman out for a profit, rather than the best interest of the game, they are now blaming everyone else for not getting the deal.

This is playing with the truth. It was A-League club’s who instead of acting in good faith negotiations with the FFA, pressed the nuclear button by going to FIFA and asking them to spill the board. The V8 model was being negotiated to increase equity for the FFA , while providing increased power for A-League owners.

The reason for this mess is because Soccer put power-games ahead of negotiating a deal in good faith. A hallmark of the games history in this country.

Some have labelled A-League club’s brave to take on Lowy?

Lowy isn’t some kind of autocratic wielding beast that people are too scared to challenge.  Recently, I spoke to one of his friends and he acknowledged that Steven Lowy is self-aware that he has made mistakes in his role.

In one quote his friend says

“Steven Lowy loves going into the change rooms and feeling the sweat. He breathes the game”

Unfortunately we see little of this passion in public.

Lowy is staying in power because he is scared, like his father of the return of the NSL. This is not a reason for him to stay in power. He must resign.

The damage is being exacerbated the longer everyone within the game takes no accountability for the warfare. The blame game is easy for everyone to take when they have individual ego’s and self-interest on the line.

A-League club’s must not be seen as saints in this process. State Federations should continue to maintain pressure on a model that gives many of these businessman who invest for their own profits/egos unprecedented power over Australian Football.

End the blame game and begin to negotiate in good faith.

By Chris Egan

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The game must come first

Posted by cegan on October 2, 2017

The revelations that A-League clubs had been given concessions by Football Federation Australia to buy part of the league at the same time a letter was sent on behalf of the A-League club’s to FIFA to spill the congress showcases how trust is non existent within the game.

A-League clubs decided that FIFA was a better arbitrator than the men, women and children of Australia.

This is  FIFA that put our game back fifteen years with the disastrous FIFA World Cup bid.  Not only did this cost a lot of money, it was a public relations disaster.

Why did FIFA not tell Football Federation Australia that we were never going to win the World Cup? Do they understand the ongoing damage the game is suffering because of that bid? Are they feeling any culpability in the financial crisis that is wreaking havoc on Australian Football?

All of these questions must be asked if FIFA come and run the game here. We must not cower up based on self-interest.

How have we not been able to build a consensus with all stakeholders within the game?

A lack of trust is the main culprit.

The culture of Australian Soccer is a real life version of the Sopranos – minus the guns.

We also have a weak leader who is not able to enshrine confidence that he has an appropriate vision for the world game in Australia.

Steven Lowy has lost the confidence of all stakeholders, including the fans.

He must resign.

Australian Soccer now goes into a waiting period. Waiting for FIFA, a less than reputable organisation to sort out the webs and division created from a spilled congress.

Many are blaming member federations outside of Victoria and New South Wales for the prolonged debates and arguments regarding the future makeup of the FFA congress.

I am not.

It is a real concern for other states, particularly Western Australia and Queensland if their A-League clubs Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar respectfully gain increased power over the game in their states.

For Liam Twigger who has had a long association in the game, he would remember the world of soccer when New South Wales, Victoria and the NSL clubs allied together to stop a WA NSL side.

The world was dictated to from the powerbrokers in the east. There was no interest in national representation.

In my view similar outcomes are very likely if reform doesn’t look at addressing this issue.

The policy platform that NSW and Victoria Federations are negotiating with A-League clubs and their fellow Member Federations has to have the past in mind.

Rather than antagonising and shaming fellow federations, negotiate in good faith.

What are the real and pertinent issues if NSW and VIC State Federations get the reforms that suit their agenda to have more power within the game?

Why do the other federations not trust the two biggest states?

Once you have these conversations, than work out a model that brings people together and starts to build a trust that is currently non-existent.

It has to show via a working solution that it can be trusted. Word’s are not enough in this game.

I do believe Victoria, New South Wales and the A-League clubs can do more to ensure the concerns of the other federations are taken into account regarding a future congress.

It is time to put those five year old kids that play out on the fields of Liverpool as the priority. Not the profits and egos of those currently enjoying the warfare.

Stand up and be the role models the Soccer community expect you to be.

By Chris Egan

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