FFA confirms appointment of new Chief Executive Officer James Johnson

The Board of Football Federation Australia [FFA] today confirmed the appointment of respected international football executive James Johnson as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Johnson will commence in the role in January 2020. Most recently the Senior Vice President of External Affairs with the City Football Group (CFG), James is a seasoned and experienced executive in football having worked for all the major football stakeholder groups including Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA).

The Chairman of the FFA Chris Nikou said: “Having run a domestic and international executive search, and in a strong field of candidates, we have no doubt James is the right person for the role. We are thrilled that he is coming back to Australia at this important time for the game.

“Football is in James’ soul. He has demonstrated that he is a collaborative leader and team player and brings global and local experience and networks to the FFA. Importantly he also understands the importance of developmental pathways and the grass roots of the code having on the ground experience representing Australia as a member of the 1999 U17 “Joeys” National Team and having risen through the ranks of football in Queensland in the 1990’s.

“He is one of the few leaders in the sport who has spent his playing and executive career within the various stakeholder groups associated with football and in this time of change we think that matters.

“James has inarguably made a meaningful contribution to the code globally. A lawyer by training, throughout his executive career, James has been at the centre of many major industry negotiations, managing multi-stakeholder situations and projects including currently representing Manchester City Football Club (MCFC) within the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and European Clubs Association (ECA) bodies in the ongoing reforms to the competition format, match calendar, financial distribution model and qualification pathway to the UEFA Champions League.

“In 2016, James received international recognition when Leaders™ listed him as one of its ‘Leaders under 40’ across all sports. He is also considered as having played a meaningful role in supporting the global leagues to form the World Leagues Forum.”

Johnson said: “Australian football is my first football community – I grew up here; I first watched football here; I’ve played here, and I built the basis of my football administration career here. I see my appointment as a responsibility to the game.

“I am looking forward to working with the Member Federations, the Women’s Council and all stakeholders across the game to build the unified and prosperous future the game deserves. We have much to do, and together we will build a shared vision for the future. One where the fans are engaged, the players fulfil their potential and the clubs at all levels thrive.”

James Johnson – professional experience

City Football Group (CFG), London/Manchester – Present

Senior Vice President External Affairs

Association Football Development Program Global (AFDP), London 2018 – Present

Advisory Board Member (non-executive)

FIFA, Zurich December 2015 – December 2018

Head of Professional Football

FIFA, Zurich 2014 – 2015

Senior Manager Member Associations

Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Kuala Lumpur 2011 – 2013

Director of International Relations and Development

Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), FIFPro Asia/Oceania, Melbourne 2009 – 2011

Player Relations Executive

ClarkeKann Lawyers, Brisbane 2008 – 2009

Practiced in the areas of corporate governance, commercial litigation and industrial relations


Member of Australian Youth National Football Teams: Under 17s (1999)

Queensland Academy of Sport, Football (1998-2000)

Former Professional Footballer at Brisbane Strikers Soccer Club, DaNang FC (Vietnam)


Graduate Diploma Legal Practice (2008)

College of Law (Qld)

Juris Doctor (Hons) (2008)

Bond University Bachelor Management Studies (Finance) (2006)

Boston University

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