In February FIFA ordered an independent Congress Review Working Group be set up to draw up an action plan to open up the body that elects the FFA board after the FFA blocked previous attempts.

The group published their report last month with a comprehensive revamp of the way football and the FFA is run in this country, opening the door to much greater involvement from players, A-League clubs, women and a pathway for NPL and fans to get involved too.

The blueprint was immediately rejected by the FFA and chairman Steven Lowy has vowed to stand down if it is backed at an extraordinary general meeting next month.

Now the Government-funded Sport Australia has got involved, threatening the Socceroos' defence of the Asian Cup in January and the Matildas place at the 2019 Women's World Cup.

FIFA does not allow any government interference in football associations, frequently suspended membership of any affected country, ruling them out of any international competitions, among other consequences.

Uruguay, Spain, Ghana and Nigeria are among the many who have either been banned or faced a ban over state meddling in football.

But today Sport Australia made a clear threat to axe taxpayer funding of football – with around $5m a year –  if the congress review proposals are put into action.

A letter from Sport Australia CEO Kate Palmer to FFA members details exactly why she believes the CRWG's proposals go too far and give the congress too much power at the expense of the FFA Board (which is dominated by Lowy family appointments).

It also warns that foreign influences from A-League clubs could combine with player and women's group representatives to block board appointments and key decisions by veto if the congress can't reach 75% agreement.

However the structure of the proposed congress has been established to ensure state federations still retain an absolute majority of 55% to protect grassroots interests.

But Palmer repeatedly insists the planned changes do not meet Sport Australia's standards of good governance.

And the opening line of the summary of her lengthy response to the CRWG proposals spells out: "Sport Australia provides significant annual funding to football under the terms of the FFA Sports Investment Agreement."

Palmer then warns that Sport Australia expects both high performance and good governance in return.

But, anticipating a backlash from FIFA, her letter adds: "These views made by Sport Australia are to be in no way taken as interference from the Federal Government."

The letter is published by federal government-funded Sport Australia on a federal government-hosted website.

Its own website describes it as "...the operating brand name of the Australian Sports Commission, a Commonwealth entity within the Australian Government’s Department of Health Portfolio."

It adds: "It is governed by a board of commissioners appointed by the Australian Government.

"The board determines the ASC’s overall direction, decides on actual allocation of resources and policy for delegated decisions, and is accountable to the Minister of Sport and to Parliament."