FF Australia Chairman keeps pressure on reforms

Football Federation Australia Chairman Frank Lowy has moved to counter a perceived lack of football knowledge at the game's highest levels, as he unveiled a wholesale shake-up of his board. An Extraordinary General Meeting to be held two days after the Socceroos play Uruguay on 2 June will see the election to the board of Jack Reilly, goalkeeper of the 1974 World Cup Socceroo team, former Matildas vice-captain Moya Dodd and Les Owen, recently retired CEO of Axa.

"The game is doing well – but we need to reform it further," Lowy told Tom Smithies of The Daily Telegraph. "We've had a good start but there's a fundamental need to get the game into the mainstream codes. Now we're working on a blueprint to reorganise the game from the grassroots to the top level, and it's no secret we're short of funds. Reform will need to go hand in hand with (new) funding. Six of the seven (board members) are steeped in the game, and some are in the executive of the financial world. We've been hand to mouth until now and we need a lot of new money, otherwise the game will stagnate."

Lowy conceded that the nominations were designed to increase the footballing acuity on the board, in the face of accusations there were not enough football people. "There's no doubt about that – we are listening to the community," he said. "At the same time, the chairman of Melbourne Victory you can't say is steeped in the tradition, but look at what they've done. Luckily we've been able to find people steeped in the game but at the same time with enough corporate and financial knowledge to assist the board with its aspirations. The past three years I started by myself then got a few people with me, but it was not too formal. I intend to put in some formality – the involvement of the board to be greater. We have a very capable management and of course a separation with the board – but within those limits we can expect the board to be very active on funding, to set the agenda, to support management but also constructively criticise."

Lowy, who will be one of the three directors up for re-election in four years, pointed to a broad wishlist when asked which particular projects he saw as the priority. "All of the above – a national youth league, we need a national coach. We need to organise the game from the bottom to the top in a homogenous way. It's a serious business – we've had a great three years, but the hard yakka comes now. It all needs to be built on, it's all fragile and we need financial stability."

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