Melbourne Victory Chairman Anthony Di Pietro.
Melbourne Victory Chairman Anthony Di Pietro. Norman Oorloff

Melbourne Victory boss embarrassed by FFA stance

MELBOURNE Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro says it will be embarrassing if FIFA is forced to overthrow Football Federation Australia's board.

Likening FIFA to the "principal of world football", Di Pietro said the threat of the global governing body intervening in Australia's "classroom" is very real.

Australian soccer is gripped in a bitter civil war that has cast a shadow over the start of season 13 of the A-League.

If the state federations, A-League clubs and players union can't reach an agreement on the make up of the voting congress that elects the FFA board by the end of November, then FIFA will almost certainly install a temporary "normalisation committee" to oversee the game.

And Di Pietro says that is a great shame given the success of the Matildas, the anticipation of a tightly contested A-League season and the fact the Socceroos are still fighting to make next year's World Cup.

"There is a shadow that still hangs heavy over our game," Di Pietro said at Victory's season launch on Wednesday.

"You may have read that the governance of our game may soon be put into the hands of FIFA.

"Why? Simply a combination of self-interest, political in-fighting and, if you listen to some, incompetence.

"Four key pillars of any organisation are leadership, culture, accountability and financial stability and it can be argued that our game has been in some decline in all of these areas.

"The FFA, through their member states, are refusing to cede their overriding power to be in accordance with world football guidelines.

"At a time when we should be marching confidently together as one ... how embarrassing that the principal of world football, FIFA, could be called in to sort out our classroom.

"The A-League is the elite premier football competition ... where the most talented can showcase and perfect the skills before a sporting mad audience in Australia.

"We generate 70 per cent of football revenue in Australia and yet collectively the A-League clubs only have one vote in a congress of 10.

"It's a token and meaningless vote.

"To be clear, Melbourne Victory - in line with all of the other A-League clubs - want the professional game, both players and clubs, male and female, to have a democratic vote in the congress of Australia.

"So does FIFA. And that's what we will work very hard to make happen."

News Corp Australia


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