Historic opportunity for engagement with fans
On Tuesday (20th February) representatives of fans groups met with officials of Football Federation Australia (FFA), FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation.
The context was the process for establishment of a Congress Review Working Group as part of governance reform for broader stakeholders’ representation in the administration of football in Australia.
Those groups who participated at the meeting included representatives from Yellow Fever (Wellington), the Cove (Sydney FC), Western Sydney Wanderers, Central Coast Supporters Club and FSA.
It seems clear by the attendance that key groups were not represented. This may have been greater if FFA had made direct contact rather than through liaison with clubs, many of which have their own priorities and agendas, sometimes conflicting with those of supporters.
Despite encouragement from the FSA to FFA, the national fans group known as Socceroos Active Support was not formally invited.
In the session which ran for over one hour, there were very robust and frank discussions covering wide range of issues and challenges raised by the different fan groups.
At the meeting, FSA tabled a one-page statement with key discussion points affecting fans, and a request to FFA for action on fans engagement.
All fan representatives took the opportunity to voice their concerns and ideas, many of which reinforced the reality of a disconnect between fans groups and the national administrative body on many key unresolved issues and failed policies.
Despite such frustrations, collectively we now have a marvellous opportunity to set a pathway forward that is more inclusive for fans engagement as one of the biggest stakeholder groups.
FSA would like to see a firm commitment by FFA with the endorsement of FIFA and FFA for formalisation of ongoing mechanisms and platform for fans engagement via the Working Group, Congress and establishment of a national Advisory Council (standing committee).
The latter needs to be comprised of fan representatives with FFA officials, holding meetings on a regular basis, either monthly or every two months.
FFA needs to develop a proposal for fan groups and stakeholders to consider by no later than early April.
FSA stands ready to contribute to the ongoing processes in a constructive and proactive way alongside all other major fans groups associated with the A-League, W-League, national teams and NPL.
We also support calls by others including the Association of Australian Football Clubs for all stakeholders to work together with FFA to “help make Australian football governance fit for purpose”.
Football Supporters Australia is a national independent incorporated association registered in Victoria. It has an interim board ahead of the inaugural AGM in the first half of 2018, including election of office bearers, adoption of a formal constitution and establishment of a membership structure.
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