Australia's embattled FA wins FIFA reprieve

MELBOURNE — FIFA has declined to take over the governance of Australian football and will instead work with the country's embattled federation to end a long-running power struggle.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) failed to pass governance reforms by a FIFA deadline last week, paving the way for soccer's world governing body to install a 'normalization committee' to run the local game.

But the FFA said on Thursday that it would form a working group with FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in a bid to break a deadlock over the reform of the federation's Congress, which elects members to the executive board.

"FIFA’s Members Association Committee made the decision to support the establishment of the working group at its recent meeting in Zurich where FFA’s efforts to expand its representative Congress were discussed," the FFA said in a statement.

"Officials from FIFA and the AFC will travel to Australia in the New Year to work with FFA and other stakeholders to agree terms of reference for the group including objectives, composition, mandate and timeline."

FIFA had demanded Australia reform its Congress to make it more democratic but a proposal brought by FFA chairman Steven Lowy failed to pass at its annual general meeting last week.

"FIFA’s ruling gives all of us a chance to take a fresh look at how the Congress can best represent the Australian football community, with the direct involvement of FIFA and AFC officials in that process,” he said.

The FFA have been at loggerheads with club owners over the makeup of its 10-member Congress. The Congress 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 the sport's revenues in Australia, want at least five seats but the FFA offered only four in the proposal that was defeated last week. A joint FIFA-AFC delegation came to Australia in August in an attempt to end the deadlock but left with no resolution.

Singapore revokes

citizenship of 'match-fixer'

Singapore Thursday revoked the citizenship of a Malian-born Footballer for allegedly being a member of a global match-fixing syndicate, authorities and reports said.

Local media said Gaye Alassane, who played with a local club, was first detained in 2013 as part of a sweeping crackdown on match-fixing groups amid allegations that Singapore had become a hub for the illicit practice.

Announcing the latest move, the Interior Ministry said it had stripped citizenship from a 43-year-old who was an "active and trusted member" of a major syndicate which operated out of the Southeast Asian financial hub.

"The individual's serious criminal conduct not only undermined the integrity of Singapore's financial system, but also law and order," said a ministry statement.

The Straits Times identified him as Malian-born Alassane, a naturalized Singapore citizen who first came to the city-state in 1993. He is accused of traveling to other countries as part of match-fixing efforts and transporting bribe money.

Police say global match-fixing generates billions of dollars a year in revenues, fuelled in part by the popularity of online betting on match results and game statistics. — Agencies