Australia FA postpones meeting as FIFA intervention looms

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[October 31, 2017]  MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia's embattled football association has postponed an emergency general meeting it had hoped would end a bitter power-struggle between clubs and administrators, and stave off the threat of a FIFA takeover of the domestic game.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) chairman Steven Lowy had called the EGM for Wednesday, hoping to ram through the association's preferred model for the Congress which elects members to its executive board, despite strident opposition from A-League club owners and players.

However, the FFA said in a statement on Tuesday it had agreed to push the meeting back to Nov. 27 after requests from board members, "to enable further consultation between all stakeholders".

The meeting will now be held only three days before FIFA's deadline to establish a more democratic executive.

If no solution is reached by Nov. 30, the global body has said it will install a 'normalization committee', which would effectively take over governance of the sport.

A joint FIFA-Asian Football Confederation delegation came to Australia in August to try to help end the deadlock but failed to broker an agreement between the warring parties.

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The logo of FIFA is seen in front of its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

The dispute centers on the membership of the Congress, which has representatives of the country's nine states and territories but currently just one delegate for all 10 clubs in the top-flight A-League and none representing the players.

The clubs, who say they generate 80 percent of revenues for football in Australia, want at least five seats but the FFA have offered them only four, along with one each for the players' union and a women's football representative on an expanded 15-member Congress.

The postponement of the meeting followed a Fairfax Media report on Tuesday that said Victoria state's football association had rejected the FFA's proposed model and demanded the board call off the EGM.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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