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FIFA backs governance reforms for Football Federation Australia, Steven Lowy set to exit

A new dawn in Australian football is beckoning after proposed governance reforms were rubber-stamped by FIFA, sounding the death knell for outgoing Football Federation Australia chairman Steven Lowy and his board.

And proponents for radical change are increasingly confident they will get their way at a special general meeting of FFA next month without the need for further intervention from the global body.

As expected, FIFA has endorsed the recommendations of the eight-member congress review working group (CRWG), which it had formed in a last-ditch attempt to strike a diplomatic solution to the long-running saga.

Lowy and his board are firmly against the CRWG's key findings, arguing their plan to expand the FFA congress will give disproportionate power to A-League club owners and the players' union, Professional Footballers Australia.

But FIFA secretary-general Fatma Samoura said they were "fully in line" with FIFA statutes and directed them to be adopted by FFA at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) as soon as possible in a letter to Lowy and other key stakeholders on Wednesday night.

Lowy's only hope is if the changes are not passed but lobbying efforts are underway to erode his support base.

Four of the smallest state federations in the country -- the ACT, NT, Northern NSW and Tasmania -- had indicated they were prepared to use their voting power to block the reforms.

Eight votes from the current 10-member FFA congress will be required at an EGM to implement the CRWG's reforms.

It's understood there are currently six definite votes in favour. They are the four states who were part of the CRWG -- Victoria, South Australia, NSW and Western Australia -- as well as Queensland and the A-League clubs, who possess one vote between them.

Sources close to the CRWG believe Northern NSW and Tasmania will change their positions and fall in line with the majority.

Samoura's letter said FIFA's administration would "reach out" to the dissenting states to address their reservations.

Attempts to contact the heads of the four state federations -- Mark O'Neill (ACT), Stuart Kenny (NT), Bill Walker (NNSW) and Bob Gordon (Tasmania) -- on Thursday were unsuccessful.

AAP also understands O'Neill, who is seen as a staunch Lowy ally, is the subject of a campaign to remove him from his position as chairman of Capital Football before the EGM.

If the CRWG's recommendations are not passed, FIFA could potentially suspend Australia from international football until the situation is resolved.

If they are passed, it would pave the way for a new-look FFA board to take over the running of the sport in November.

Lowy called for stakeholders to "come together" and resume talks to strike a "sufficient consensus" in a statement late on Thursday, but it appears too little too late.

FFA said it would work with members to call an EGM, with 21 days' notice required to be given under Australian law.


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