Craig Foster has withdrawn his candidacy for the FFA board.
Craig Foster has withdrawn his candidacy for the FFA board.

Foster pulls out of FFA board race

CRAIG Foster has withdrawn his candidacy for the Football Federation Australia board at the 11th hour, announcing he does not have "the necessary stakeholder support to succeed".

The former Socceroo and current SBS pundit was the popular favourite to be elected as a director and even replace Steven Lowy as chairman after a passionate manifesto and appearance at this week's forum in Melbourne.

But on Friday evening, less than three days before Monday's annual general meeting, Foster lamented that "despite the change that has occurred, many things remain the same".

"Despite the amazing support of our football community around the country, it has become clear that I do not have the necessary stakeholder support to succeed in my candidacy for the board and as chairman of FFA," Foster wrote in a statement shared on Twitter.

"Accordingly, I have notified FFA of the withdrawal of my nomination.

"I ran a transparent and public campaign not just for the board, but the chairmanship for a number of reasons.

"Without strong, independent leadership I believe the game is in peril of making decisions that fail to protect every aspect of our community. I have made no secret of this fact. This is why I have reiterated my determination that there be no deals, no premises - only fair leadership with an allegiance to the entire game.

"Further, it is vital the new board has not only independent leadership but can exercise its judgment independently to ensure it is capable of delivering the reform agenda the game needs and that we voted for."

Foster thanked Professional Footballers Australia and the other nominee backed by the players' union Heather Reid, and offered "deepest apologies to our players, fans, community and media who have given me such incredible support over the past few weeks.

"The game is not yet ready for a former player as chair. Not yet. It need not be me, but an important process has begun. I will work with our former players to identify and prepare others as it will be necessary, in time, for the real change we crave," he said.

"We need to continue this groundswell of passion and inclusion to make this game truly accountable to us all. It currently is not. Despite the change that has occurred, many things remain the same.

"Ultimately, we all want what's best for our beloved game. Football does not need a protest vote or candidate, we need unity, which is why I've decided to step away."

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