Lowy to quit after meeting passes sweeping changes to soccer
FOOTBALL Federation Australia chairman Steven Lowy confirmed he would not stand for re-election and reiterated he feared "the worst" for the game after sweeping changes to the governance of the game were passed on Tuesday.
Speaking at a press conference after the FFA extraordinary general meeting passed big changes to the sport's congress, Lowy made his thoughts on the decision known and added he had "no idea" what his family's future role in football will be.
"Clearly the FFA board is extremely disappointed at the outcome of today's meeting - we believe the loser today is the principle of independent governance.
"This is an issue the FFA board has been fighting for all through this. It's had a set of principles it's stuck to and it's stuck to those principles up to the last minute.
"I understand why a number of the members were fatigued through the process and the ongoing debate, but it certainly was a debate worth having.
"It's a principle worth fighting for right down to the wire. The implications of today's decision will be played out over time. As I have said, I hope for the best for the game but I fear the worst."
Lowy pointed to the successes of his regime over the past 15 years, including the rise of the Matildas and the Socceroos' qualification for four consecutive World Cups.
"Revenues of our game are at all-time highs," Lowy added.
"The women's game is particularly thriving. I don't need to revisit my fears for the game today, they are clearly well known. Suffice to say that our game today has crossed a red line, from a corporate governance model for football to one where stakeholders with vested interests will compete for power and resources as opposed to these being decided by independent members of a board.
"This is a governance regime I choose not to serve on and I reiterate that I will not offer myself for re-election at the upcoming AGM."
The outgoing chairman made his point clear once again that he believed the new congress model would lead to a shift in the allocation of resources.
"There will be bias that comes to those debates, and that ultimately will shift resources to other parts of the game. Ultimately the weaker will lose," Lowy said.
"In the three years I've been there, we've achieved enormous success. But that success has been clouded by the fierce debate that has played out today."
The decision at Tuesday's extraordinary general meeting hung on a knife-edge, with state federations and a sole A-League representative voting 8-2 to grow the FFA Congress.
One vote fewer and it would have failed.
Crucially, the decision is likely to stave off the threat of FIFA intervention in Australian football.
The world governing body has instructed FFA to grow its Congress - one of the smallest in world football - issuing a final, blunt reminder on the eve of the key vote.
FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura wrote to Lowy to say that FIFA "clearly anticipates that the proposed changes to the FFA Constitutions will be adopted at tomorrow's EGM".
It means that the Socceroos and Matildas can progress to their upcoming tournaments free of the fear of suspension.
But the changes do bring question marks.
A new Congress should convene next month for the first time to elect new directors.
The A-League could break away from FFA control as soon as next season, with an independent body formed to run the flagship competition.
It remains to be seen what will come of the A-League expansion process, which was supposed to select two new teams to enter the competition later this month.
Those decisions could be delayed.