Lowy’s parting shot at A-League clubs
OUTGOING Football Federation Australia chairman Steven Lowy has launched a hostile assault on agitators for governance change, alleging the game is at a "tipping point" and proposed reforms would hand power to "vested interests".
Lowy has announced he will not seek re-election when his first term expires in November, citing "the politics in football" as being behind a decision that will end the Lowy family's 50-year football dynasty in Australia.
His notice to depart could provide the circuit-breaker required to end the bitter, drawn-out impasse with the A-League clubs, some state federations and the players union over who controls the local game's governance and purse strings.
Lowy said he wanted to remove himself from the gridlock that has forced FIFA to intervene more than once and could yet spur the world governing body into action again.
But the son and successor of billionaire Westfield co-founder Frank Lowy, whose term expires in November, was not willing to go quietly.
"We are now at a tipping point, the game can get stronger, or it could break if vested interests prevail," Lowy warned.
"I want to make it clear that I would not, under any circumstances, wish to serve in a governance structure where independence was compromised.
"The congress review working group has proposed a model that would do just that.
"Acting as a bloc, as they have done throughout this process, the professional game and only two of the states could control the congress and therefore the election of directors to the FFA board.
"The game has so much momentum … but this could be seriously at risk in a short space of time."
The congress review working group methodically rejected each of the FFA board's concerns via a joint press release earlier this week and will press on to try and have their recommendations, set to be formally approved by FIFA in coming days, passed at an FFA special general meeting.
Lowy had a foreboding message for those set to vote on the reforms, which he and four minor state federations are against.
"For the stakeholders who must determine the future in coming weeks I issue this warning: those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat its mistakes," Lowy said.
"To those who are tired of the debate and wish for an outbreak of peace so that the game can get on with life, I say: be very careful what you wish for."
Lowy described much of the debate around the acidic governance saga as " woefully superficial and simplistic - treating it as a petty political fight".
"This has obscured the core principle over which the game is divided. The key principle is this - we shouldn't allow representation to be driven by money."
The FFA board is fighting corporate governance changes that will give A-League club owners more power.
"What does all mean? It means that yet again Australian football faces an existential question: how best to govern the game," Lowy said. "By vested interests or by a truly independent board?
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