Steven Lowy to quit as Football Federation Australia leader

SYDNEY (AP) — Steven Lowy has announced he’s quitting as Football Federation Australia chairman amid political infighting over reform.

Lowy succeeded his father, billionaire property magnate Frank Lowy, as chairman in 2015 and has guided the FFA through a turbulent period, including disagreement with FIFA over the national governance of the game.

Lowy tells Fox Sports, “I’ve decided I won’t seek re-election when my term is up at the end of November. I thought it very important to let the football community know as early as possible that I’ve made that choice.”

Lowy has recently tried to rally opposition to the recommendations of a FIFA-backed working group which called for extensive changes to the FFA’s administrative structure and governance, including the substantial enlargement of its governing congress.

Owners of clubs in Australia’s A-League have pressed for more say in the running of the sport but Lowy has largely opposed their efforts, saying the professional game should not dominate at the expense of the grassroots.

“I’m doing this because of the politics in football,” Lowy told The Australian newspaper. “I’m taking myself out of the equation.”

He said the debate over the FFA’s future shape had become personal.

“I and my family are used as a distraction to the real issues,” he said. “I want to remove from the debate once and for all any suggestion that the struggle to maintain an independent FFA board has anything to do with my personal interest or ambition.

“I’ve never done this job to cling onto power. I’ve done it simply because I love football and I love our nation.”