Executive Leadership Team

James Johnson - Chief Executive Officer

James Johnson

James Johnson was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Football Australia in January 2020.

A qualified lawyer and retired footballer, James is a sports administrator who has represented governing bodies, clubs and players.

Immediately prior to James joining Football Australia, he was Senior Vice President of External Affairs with the City Football Group (CFG) where he took a leadership role in advancing the group ownership’s interests globally with stakeholder bodies (both football and non-football entities), including advising the group on compliance with competition regulator’s rules.

Before joining CFG, he was Head of Professional football at International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), where he managed the secretariat of the Football Stakeholders Committee. At FIFA, he established relationships with international clubs, leagues and players.

Previously, James was Director of International Relations and Development at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). At AFC he oversaw relationships with Asia’s 46 national associations, development activities, as well as ethics and integrity at the organisation. He also worked for Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), managing strategic relationships with professional footballer players and legal affairs.

As a lawyer, James practiced in the private sector in corporate governance, industrial relations and commercial litigation. He has a degree in business administration, minoring in finance, from Boston University (USA), a Juris Doctorate (Hons) from Bond University (Australia) and a legal diploma from the College of Law (Australia).

James has been a featured speaker at sports conferences across the globe and recently received international recognition through the Leaders Under 40 Awards which recognise the best global talent in the sports business.

As a footballer, James represented Australia at a youth level and has played for various clubs in Australia, Asia and the USA.

Alex Davani - Executive Office and Strategy

Alex Davani

Bio to come 

Mark Falvo - Chief Operating Officer

Mark Falvo

Mark Falvo was appointed to Football Australia in 2008 where he was responsible for finance, strategic planning and international football development as part of Football Australia's FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup bids.

In 2010, Mark was appointed Executive Manager. He oversaw the development of Football Australia’s 2010-2015 Strategic Plan and other key projects including the FFA Cup and National Competition Review which led to the establishment of the National Premier Leagues framework.

In 2012, Mark was appointed Chief Operating Officer at the Local Organising Committee for AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.

In 2013, Mark was appointed to the role of General Manager, International Affairs at Football Australia which he continues to fulfil in addition to his responsibilities to the AFC Asian Cup.

In 2015, having successfully delivered the AFC Asian Cup, Mark returned to Football Australia as Head of Corporate Strategy, International Affairs & Government Relations, and was later promoted to the position of Football Australia Chief Operating Officer and Deputy General Secretary.  Mark is a member of the AFC and AFF Competitions Committees.

Tim Holden - Head of Legal, Business Affairs & Integrity – Company Secretary

Tim Holden

Tim Holden joined Football Australia in March 2009.  He acts as the Head of Legal, Business Affairs and Integrity and was appointed company secretary in February 2019.  Prior to joining Football Australia, Tim worked at Allens as a lawyer in the firm’s Litigation and Intellectual Property department.  

He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney.  Tim has been a member of the Asian Football Confederation’s Disciplinary and Ethics Committee since June 2019.

Nina McDonnell - People and Culture

Bio to come

Paddy Steinfort - Head of Performance

Paddy Steinfort

Paddy Steinfort was appointed Head of Performance in June 2021.

Paddy comes to Football Australia highly credentialed and experienced from the Major League Baseball team Boston Red Sox where he most recently held the position of Senior Performance Coach. 

His impressive career spans across several sporting organisations and high-performance environments in Australia and USA, with previous roles including Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Eagles and AFL Club, Adelaide Football Club.  

He was also previously Managing Director of Leading Teams New Zealand, where he played a vital role developing high performance cultures, teams and leaders across a number of sports around the globe delivering innovative and tailored programs to organisations in leadership and high performance development. 

Sarah Walsh - Head of Women's Football, Women's World Cup Legacy & Inclusion

Sarah Walsh - ELT

Sarah Walsh was appointed Head of Women’s Football, Women’s World Cup Legacy and Inclusion in December 2019.

During her playing career, Sarah competed at the highest levels of football for 15 years including representing Australia at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens and the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China. Sarah (cap #125) represented the Matildas between 2004- 2012, representing Australia 70 times and scored 35 goals. Sarah competed in the Westfield W-League playing for Sydney FC and was the Western Sydney Wanderers Captain during the Westfield W-League Clubs inaugural season in 2012. Sarah also played professionally overseas in the Women’s Professional Soccer League for Clubs in New Jersey, Boston and St Louis.

Whilst still competing internationally, Sarah completed a Bachelor of Business (Marketing major) from Swinburne University of Technology (via Open Universities Australia).

Immediately after retiring from football in 2013, Sarah utilised her formal learning and years of leadership and high-performance experience to move into various business and football development positions within Football Australia. During her time at Football Australia, Sarah has accumulated extensive experience in driving outcomes for participation, inclusion and gender equality; developing and executing frameworks to create more inclusive football environments for all stakeholders across all levels of the game.

Sarah is a member of the Asian Football Confederation’s Womens Football Committee and is responsible for leading and executing a Legacy for Football in Australia through the delivery of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Peter Filopoulos - Head of Marketing, Communications, Corporate Affairs

Peter Filopoulos

Peter has over 25 years of highly successful experience as an accomplished senior C-Suite executive in sports administration, providing strategic and operational leadership with some of Australia’s most iconic sports and entertainment brands.

A strong, consistent, and proven track record of developing, leading, and motivating high performance teams, as well as executing thriving business and brand building strategies resulting in sustainable, long term corporate growth.

He has a well-developed reputation within the sports and entertainment industry with an extensive industry network and an innate ability connecting business and Government with sport.

Peter is presently a key member of the senior management team at Football Australia in the role of Head of Marketing, Communications and Corporate Affairs. 

Peter joined Football Australia from his previous role is CEO of Football Victoria (FV).  In this role he was able to drive an ambitious new strategic growth agenda under the “FootbALLways” strategic plan devised under his stewardship. 

Achievements in this role included strong participation growth of 24% in 2018 and 29% in 2019, unlocking over $300M in government funding to address the grassroots facilities gap in Victoria and a leading the Home of the Matildas project and developing a business case for a $116M world class national training centre and successfully securing government funding support from the Federal and State Governments.

Prior to joining FV, Peter had a successful three years’ as CEO at the Perth Glory Football Club.  In this role, Peter played a critical role in the business transformation of the club and developing and implementing a new strategic plan, “The Perth Glory Way”, driving the club in a new and exciting direction which lead to significant improvements in the club’s operations commercial, and high-performance achievements, as well as creating a new football strategy which included the development of a Football Australia accredited two-star junior academy.

Peter has developed a strong reputation as a senior sports and entertainment executive with a demonstrable history of major accomplishments in all his roles as the strategic, marketing, and commercial lead throughout his career. 

This includes eight (8) years with AFL clubs Hawthorn Football Club and North Melbourne Football Club, seven (7) years with the world-class Marvel Stadium located in Melbourne and 18 months National Sporting Organisation, Swimming Australia.

Peter led the connected stadium strategy at Marvel Stadium in 2013/14 to implement high density Wi-Fi infrastructure, 1600 iPTV screens and an in-depth user experience and fan engagement marketing plan. 

 Jane Fernandez - Chief Operating Officer, Australia -
FIFA Women's World Cup Australia New Zealand 2023™

Jane Fernandez - web

Jane Fernandez is Head of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 Office (Australia). Jane was General Manager of Football Australia’s successful bid to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup, one of the world’s largest international sporting events.

Previously, Jane was Head of Sport for the Australian Olympic Committee managing key aspects of Australia's participation in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, and Tournament Director of the AFC Asian Cup 2015. Jane is passionate about the power of sport and major sports events to drive social change and to leave a positive legacy.

Trevor Morgan - Head of Technical Direction, Pathways & Coach Education

Trevor Morgan

Trevor Morgan is the current U17 Men's Coach who took the Joeys to the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup. Over the last 30 years, Trevor has been work at all levels as a Head Coach from Elite Youth Development, National Youth League, NPL. He has also worked as an assistant coach and analyst at the FIFA U20 World Cup, U23 AFC Men's Championships, A-League with Western Sydney Wanderers, including during their winning 2014 AFC Asian Champions League and attending the FIFA Club World Cup.

With a background as a school teacher, Trevor was Director of Football at Westfields Sports High School, a school which has produced 20+ Socceroos and Westfield Matildas and often has 4-6 players in the men's and women's junior national team squads. This background drives a holistic approach to player and coach development, which is aligned with the XI Principles around building Australia’s confidence in its own capacity to deliver players at coaches for the highest level.

Tom Rischbieth - Head of Commercial and Events

Tom Rischbieth - ELT

Tom Rischbieth joined Football Australia in March 2020 after spending nearly seven years in London, England, working across sport, music and entertainment with a boutique commercial rights firm, Sports Rights Management (SRM).

As Commercial Director, Tom focused on delivering commercial revenue and growth for SRM’s clients and own projects, working across Europe, North America, Australia and the Middle East.

While in the UK, Tom co-founded The Mullagh Group, a business network of Australians working in the sports industry in the UK and Europe, facilitating growth in Australia’s “off-field” reputation in sport, and working closely with the Australian High Commission to drive sport diplomacy initiatives. Tom was also a member of the Agent General for South Australia’s International Markets Advisory Board.

Prior to working with SRM, Tom was a lawyer at Minter Ellison Lawyers, specialising in Intellectual Property, Information Technology, Competition Law and Real Estate. In addition to his legal background, Tom has a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in both Marketing and Management. 

Tom has also been a member of the Asian Football Confederation’s Marketing Committee since September 2020.

Jenny Simpson - Chief Technology Officer

Jenny Simpson

Jenny Simpson was appointed Chief Technology Officer of Football Australia in October 2021. 

Prior to joining Football Australia, Jenny forged an award-winning career in innovation, technology, financial services, management consulting, resources, and industrial with leading firms such as NAB, AMP, Dai-ichi TAL, ORIX, Chevron-owned Caltex, Shell, BHP, Weir Group, AT Kearney, Standard Chartered, Zurich Financial, Cuscal, Sage Group which sponsored 2018 Invictus Games, and Halliburton KBR Kinhill which provided services for Sydney Olympics and Melbourne F1 Grand Prix. 

Jenny was co-founder and Director of Strategy & Delivery at ABTY, an international digital art start-up and business technology consultancy. She is passionate about building business success and delivering technology for good experience, value, and growth. Jenny has held leadership roles in digital, technology, innovation, data, strategy, programs, and operations across multiple industries.

Jenny led a parallel corporate and social impact board directorship career at leading organisations such as Engineers Australia, NDIS accommodation & services provider The Housing Connection, and University of Technology. She currently serves as Mentor for Women in Banking and Finance, and Ambassador for Sustainable People Solution’s Leadership Alliance Program with member organisations including Australian Army, Infrastructure NSW, Transport NSW, Bechtel, John Holand, AECOM, and affiliated firms in engineering & construction.

Jenny inherited her father’s love of football and personally understands the games’ ability to transcend culture, languages and circumstances. Jenny holds a Master of Business Administration from the Australian Graduate School of Management and Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Queensland. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Robbie Middleby - Head of Member Federation Relations and Community

Robbie Middleby

Robbie Middleby was appointed Head of Member Federation Relations and Community in January 2021 after joining Football Australia in March 2020 to lead the Member Federation relations function.

Robbie has over 25 years’ experience as a former Professional Footballer and Sports administrator.

He has represented Australia as a professional Footballer at both junior and senior levels, worked as a Club CEO and Football Manager in the A-League and spent the last five years working for FIFA before joining Football Australia.

As a professional player, Robbie’s spent time in Germany and in Australia winning NSL and A-League Championships with both Wollongong Wolves FC and Sydney FC. 

As a Football administrator, Robbie is well respected throughout the Australian and International Sports Industry with extensive knowledge, experience and understanding of Club operations, stakeholder engagement and domestic/International regulations. 

During his time at FIFA, Robbie was a key advisor to FIFA’s Professional Football Department working together with FIFA’s Executive Members, FIFA’s Confederations and FIFA’s Member Associations to implement programs and regulations. 

Robbie currently represents Football Australia as a member of the AFC Development Committee.