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Mar 1, 2012

Asia and FIFA throw support behind FFA

Clive Palmer has been dealt a blow in his crusade to destabilise Australia's soccer leadership, with both FIFA and Asia's governing body throwing their support behind Football Federation Australia.

Palmer declared war on the FFA on Thursday, setting up a rival soccer organisation after he was thrown out of the game and his licence to run A-League club Gold Coast United was revoked.

But Palmer's FFA watchdog, Football Australia, has been given short shrift by the world game's rulers.

The Asian Football Confederation has emphatically backed the FFA, chairman Frank Lowy and chief executive Ben Buckley.

And FIFA has also confirmed it will only back one association in each country - and, in Australia, that is the FFA.

"The AFC confirms that it recognises only FFA as the official affiliated member association representing Australian football in Asia," the AFC said in a statement on Friday.

"According to the AFC Statutes, only one national association shall be officially recognised in each country by the AFC.

"Accordingly, the AFC will only recognise and deal with FFA on all football matters concerning Australia.

"The AFC also wishes to acknowledge and underline the AFC's strong relationship with FFA, its chairman Frank Lowy, and chief executive officer Ben Buckley."

Any organisation worldwide which wants to run a top-level football competition must have FIFA's imprimatur and that of the region's governing body.

Palmer, one of Australia's richest men, had initially stated Football Australia's intention was to replace the "incompetent" Lowy-led FFA amid talk of a breakaway competition from the A-League.

However, Palmer and former A-League chief Archie Fraser - the new body's chief executive - later backed away from that claim at a media conference, saying they hoped to work with FFA rather than take over.

They said the new organisation's role would be to act as a think tank and watchdog for the sport.

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