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FFA CEO James Johnson set to shake-up structure

New Football Federation Australia (FFA) CEO James Johnson says addressing how the organisation can adapt to constant change will be one of his biggest priorities.

Speaking in front of media for the first time since his introduction to the CEO role, Johnson has come with a plan to transform the FFA into an organisation fit to handle any challenge that comes its way, both in a local and international scale.

Here are some of the key points that Johnson made as part of his introduction, where he discusses how the FFA needs to signal its intent as it aims to become a leading and respected organisation in the global world.

Related Story: FFA’s appointment of James Johnson is promising but where in the world does he start?

He outlines where he thinks FFA is at today and what he’s seen.

“The FFA has been through a very challenging period, which in our history in football has been the most transformational we’ve been through,” he said.

“In 2018 we went through the congress reform – during my time at FIFA I got to see many of these all over the world and know what sort of transformational change come as a consequence of these reviews.”

“We’re also in the midst of the unbundling of the A-League and this is a step in the direction of professionalisation, it means the Australian football governance framework is becoming more sophisticated.

“We also need to look at the domestic environment we’re operating in, as a football community and we’re shifting to a model where stakeholders are participating in a meaningful way more so than in the past.”

Having spoken about the need for change, Johnson outlined the specific plan and vision that will build towards a more sustainable future for FFA.

“I’d like to see the FFA become a really unified organisation,” he said.

“The FFA needs to connect the game together, including the stakeholders, government and commercial partners.

“This is a role the FFA can play, and should become a football first organisation and drive the football agenda.

“The third theme is the organisation transforming from something local to one that thinks globally.

“We need to acknowledge this is a global sport with many opportunities and learnings that we can bring back to the Australian game.”

Australian football has seen some complex and pressing issues over recent years – as Johnson commences his duties he is aware of some key topics that need addressing.

“We need to finalise the unbundling of the A-League,” he said.

“We need to find a governance model where both the league and FFA need each other to both grow.

“There’s many good examples that exist out in the global world of football and I’m hoping I can bring this experience back to add value in these discussions.

“We’re obviously bidding for the Women’s World Cup in 2023, this is an ongoing process and part of it with a decision in June.

“This is another immediate priority and we need to look at how we best position ourselves as a leading candidate to win the Women’s World Cup hosting rights.”

Perhaps one of the biggest talking points in Australian football is the desire for a national second division that pits National Premier League sides against top-flight A-League opposition.

Johnson confirmed that it is in his interest to introduce this and are going through a process about how the competition structure would change.

“We don’t have a second-tier competition but these discussions are happening,” he said.

“I don’t see any reason why we cannot have a second tier competition.

“I’d like to look at the FFA Cup and also the NPL and how we grow these products.

“One learning that I’ve had being involved in the Champions League discussions is that every year a great competition like the Champions League is reviewed and discussed with stakeholders at the table trying to make the competition better every year so it continues to grow.

“I’d like to have a look and discuss women’s football – this is a real key priority now all over the world.

“You’ve got FIFA, UEFA and big European clubs all investing in this area, so how do we on this side of the world be a major player in the global discussions of women’s football, I think that’s something we need to look at.

“I’d also like to look at the pathways and how we ensure that we open access to all parts of Australia.

“Are the registration costs too high – can we find mechanisms such as training reward or solidarity mechanisms to ensure that clubs all over the country are incentivised to develop players.

“This is something that I’d really like us to look at and debate in the near future.”

Source: https://www.ffa.com.au/news/watch-james-johnsons-first-media-conference-ffa-ceo

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Liam Watson is a Senior Journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on international football policy, industry matters and industry 4.0

Football Queensland outlines new Opportunities Paper

Football Queensland has released the Future of Football 2020+ Opportunities Paper, to build further on their goal of uniting football in Queensland.

The recently published Opportunities Paper is split into key areas, featuring an in-depth look at the member federations’ governance, administration, competitions and affordability.

In a statement, Football Queensland CEO Robert Cavallucci is delighted to lead the way and find out how to best shape the game in the future in the state.

“FQ is excited to release this Opportunities Paper as we reach another milestone in the statewide Future of Football 2020+ consultation journey,” he said.

“We have spent the last few months engaging with our 12 stakeholder groups and inviting members of the Queensland football community to have their say on the future of the game through our Club Summits, surveys and webinars.

“It’s been fantastic to personally meet hundreds of football stakeholder from across Queensland face to face and obtain deeper insights into how thousands of community members and stakeholders view the current Queensland football landscape and better understand their demonstrated desire for reform across governance, administration, competitions and affordability.

“FQ’s Opportunities Paper brings together the views of the football community through extensive feedback and begins to present possible solutions that have the power to unlock the immense opportunity and potential of the game.

“We now look forward to hearing community feedback on the Opportunities Paper as we continue the six-month consultation process throughout September and October, and prepare for the next phase with the assembly of the First Recommendations Report and FQ’s Implementation Plan, which will deliver clear objectives and pathways to make football the game of choice for all, for life.”

You can find the Future of Football 2020+ Opportunities Paper here, with the full copy available to download.

Football Queensland has also provided an initial Consultation Paper published in May, which can be found here.

30 clubs vying to be part of National Second Division in 2022

The Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC) have created a partner group involving 30 NPL clubs across Australia, with the aim of beginning a national second division by 2022.

The list of clubs includes former NSL powerhouses such as South Melbourne, Melbourne Knights, Adelaide City and Sydney Olympic.

AAFC Chairman Nick Galatas believes the partner group is an important step in the process towards a connected football pyramid.

“The Championship is about creating stronger clubs and expanding the football footprint throughout our country for the benefit of our entire sport,” he said.

“The oldest club in the partner group was established in the 19th century and another two early in the 20th century, while the youngest club was established in this century. That says so much about the longevity and popularity of our sport in this country.

“Of surprise to many, perhaps, are that the three oldest clubs are from Newcastle, Hobart and Brisbane.”

The AAFC will now sort through the issues of the proposed competition, with a final report needing approval from those at FFA HQ.

Galatas claims promotion and relegation is necessary throughout the tiers of football in Australia, however A-League clubs may not be relegated immediately, once the second tier begins.

“AAFC’s view is that we cannot be properly considered as a ‘football nation’ without it and having it in place is our ultimate objective,” he said.

“While promotion and relegation with the A-League will hopefully occur (a) little later, we aim for it to start immediately with the NPL below.

“We also recognise a need to get the code back on track and financially viable and that is what we believe the Championship will help in achieving. Connecting clubs from bottom-to-top and top-to-bottom will help unite the game which will help it achieve its potential.”

The 30 clubs involved in the partner group can be viewed here.

FFA trio to join AFC Committees until 2023

FFA have announced three recently appointed management members have been assigned positions in separate AFC committees.

FFA General Manager of Commercial, Tom Rischbieth, FFA General Manager of Member Federation Relations, Robbie Middleby and current FFA Technical Director, Trevor Morgan, will join the various committees until 2023.

Rischbieth will join the AFC Marketing Committee, Middleby the AFC Development Committee, whilst Morgan will be a part of the AFC Technical Committee.

FFA CEO James Johnson explained the importance of these developments.

“In the XI Principles for the future of Australian football discussion paper, we outlined a vision for Australia to become one of the leading voices in global football, and to have our people ‘hard-wired’ into regional football matters,” he said.

“Football is the world game and it is extremely important that we become an organisation which thinks globally. These latest appointments ensure that Australia is able to tap into the vast network of global football and has the ongoing opportunity to contribute ideas and energy to discussions and projects aimed at advancing Asian football.

“Along with recent new appointments to the FFA senior management team, we are also privileged to have Tom, Robbie and Trevor contribute to a fresh new strategic agenda for football in Australia and now look forward to the positive contributions they can make to the respective Committees that they have been appointed to at the AFC.

“With their passion, experience, and expertise, I trust that each will forge connections and relationships with representatives from our fellow Member Associations that serve to enhance Australia’s relations and reputation throughout AFC,” Johnson concluded.

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