Rarely has Australian football experienced such a collective ‘stacks on’ as it did late last week.
James Johnson has been named Football Federation Australia’s new chief executive and will take over from David Gallop in January.
A lawyer and a former professional player, Johnson has worked for FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation and Professional Footballers Australia.
Johnson, currently a senior Vice President with the City Football Group in the United Kingdom, is looking forward to returning home.
“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,” he said in a statement on Friday.
Johnson played for the U17 Joeys national team in 1999 and for the Brisbane Strikers Soccer Club before transitioning into the administrative side of the sport.
FFA chairman Chris Nikou says Johnson was the stand-out in a strong field of international and domestic candidates and was clearly the “right person for the role”.
“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,” Nikou said on Friday in a statement.
“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.”
Johnson’s predecessor Gallop announced he would quit earlier this year, saying the A-League’s move to be independent of FFA prompted his decision.
The chief executive for seven years, Gallop said the fresh governance model would fundamentally change the role of FFA, and therefore its management.