The Congress Review Working Group (CRWG) made public the report and recommendations for the future governance of football in Australia.
The 100-page detailed final report was sent to Switzerland on July 31 and has seen months spent on creating the new proposal to submit to FIFA and the AFC.
So let's find out what this means for women's football.
Establishment of Women Football Council (WFC)
Submissions from Women Onside and stakeholders have strongly supported the establishment of a WFC to be supported by FFA. Their key responsibilities would be to:
1) strongly advocate on Women’s Football in Australia;
2) regularly and pro-actively consult and interact with the FFA management as well as other committees to enshrine Women’s Football;
3) work towards a uniform approach from all represented stakeholders; and
4) contribute to the prosperity and growth of Australian football.
It was also recommended the Council should be able to form sub-committees and project groups to address specific issues and should immediately occupy a presence at Congress with 10 votes.
The WFC votes would be split by one Independent Chair, three nominated by state federations, three nominated by the clubs and three nominated by PFA.
At the moment, the representation of women in our Congress currently stands at zero.
However, in a statement from FFA they held "strong concerns" over the Women’s Council appearing "to extend the voting reach of other stakeholders at the expense of a truly independent voice for the women’s game".
In a letter to CRWG Chair Judith Griggs, FFA Chairman Steven Lowy AM said that the ten-person voting member of Congress appears to be "a construct to plug a gap in the voting numbers of an otherwise binary Congress model". He believes that FFA should have gender equality across its Congress so 50 percent male and 50 percent female representation.
Women Onside has suggested this previously with a minimum of 50 percent women at each delegation, meaning if they send four delegates, two must be women.
The letter continues to say: "gender equality in football governance is for the betterment of governance in all aspects of the game, not just those concerning women."
"The female representatives in the various electoral, decision/policy-making and administrative bodies that form the total governance structure of the game are there to contribute equally...to the development, promotion and growth of the whole game."
While it is hard to garner fully what Lowy is writing about, it seems as though he is arguing that giving more votes to the WFC would mean that the interest of the development, promotion and growth of the game as a whole wouldn't be upheld and that their focus would solely be on women's football and not the entire game.
Establishment of the ‘New Leagues Working Group’ [NLWG]
The NLWG would see the A-League branch off as its own standalone organisation next season, controlling A-League, W-League and the Y-League. While the mandate of the NLWG should comprise of:
1. To consider, evaluate and make recommendations for consideration by the FFA Board and FFA Congress respectively in relation to a new governance model for the professional leagues in Australia (A-League, W-League and Y-League); and
2. To consider, evaluate and negotiate terms and make recommendations for consideration by the FFA Board and FFA Congress respectively in relation to legal and commercial aspects pertaining to the new A-League model.
The proposal would take into account the need for the development of the Women’s game, the inclusion of the W-League in considerations and whether the W-League and Youth League must be bundled with the A-League or if it should be separate.
At the moment only one club in the W-League is separate from an A-League team, that club being Canberra United, but there has been a proposed change for that with the Canberra and Capital Region A-League bid.
Read the whole report here.