FFA board's fate could be sealed overnight

Vince Rugari
Steven Lowy will soon find out from FIFA whether he continues in his position as FFA chairman

Australian soccer is on tenterhooks ahead of a FIFA meeting in Zurich overnight that will shape the future of the sport.

FIFA's member associations committee is due to meet on Monday to determine whether or not the global governing body should take control of Football Federation Australia.

By Tuesday morning in Australia, FFA chairman Steven Lowy could well know his fate.

It's expected the 19-person panel - comprised of members from countries as diverse as Aruba, Andorra, American Samoa and Niger - will vote for the FFA board to be overthrown and for a normalisation committee to be formed to take its place.

The member associations committee will then pass on its recommendation to the 'Bureau of the Council', a seven-person panel headed by FIFA president Gianni Infantino which has the legislative power to make it happen.

Although there is no set timeline, the 'Bureau of the Council' could convene as early as this week in Abu Dhabi, where soccer's chief decision-makers are gathered ahead of the Club World Cup.

Lowy's seemingly last hope of retaining power is his personal relationship with Infantino, who he has visited several times this year to keep him abreast of local developments.

FIFA has been pressing FFA for months to fall in line with its new statutes and adopt a new congress structure that is constituted in accordance with "principles of representative democracy" and recognises the "importance of gender equality" in football.

Last week's annual general meeting, where FFA's proposal for a new congress was voted down, was on the same day as the FIFA-imposed deadline for change.

But FFA has been lobbying furiously ever since, and it's believed Lowy could be pushing for an extension of two more weeks to return to the negotiating table.

However, his opponents are already planning for life without him.

The A-League clubs and Professional Footballers Australia have reportedly sent FIFA a 300-page document outlining the problems with Australian soccer and a blueprint for the future.

"We need an independent A and W League so we can grow the game," Perth Glory owner Tony Sage wrote on Facebook.

"We need four more teams. We need a management team committed to promoting the A and W Leagues.

"None of that is happening.

"All the owners combined (have) lost over $350m so for Lowy to say we are greedy is offensive.

"I just hope FIFA acts quickly so we all know where we stand."