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 previously held senior executive positions with FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation and City Football Group. 

Following his appointment as Chief Executive Officer of Football Australia, James worked with his team and the Australian football community to release a vision for Australia’s largest participant, most diverse and globally connected sport. The XI Principles for the future of Australian Football (XI Principles For The Future of Australian Football | Football Australia), Australian football’s 15-year Vision is bold, progressive, and designed to unite and guide the sport’s decision making.

Since its release in 2020, James has been focused on bringing this vision to life and has already overseen a meaningful change in Australian football, including:

  • Successfully bidding to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup together with New Zealand. This will be the most significant event in Australian sport since the 2000 Sydney Olympics with some 1.5 Billion people expected to tune in from around the world. 
  • Transforming the governance of Australian football with the creation of a new model for its professional leagues (men and women) in December 2020, when he oversaw the completion of the ‘unbundling’ of the professional leagues from Football Australia.  Now a separate entity, operated by Australia’s professional football clubs, has been created and managed under the umbrella of Football Australia to run the daily operations of the professional leagues.
  • Successfully led a commercial turnaround for the sport through its most difficult period. James has guided Football Australia to landmark record broadcast deals with CBSViacom Paramount+ and Network 10; record sponsorship deals with Commonwealth Bank Australia, Cadbury and Priceline. In the past 12 months, Football Australia has doubled its budgeted revenues with the sport now in a healthy position for future growth. 
  • The launch of our FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Legacy program (“Legacy 23”) which is aimed at increasing Australian football’s participation base (particularly women and girls); improving facilities across the country; maximizing opportunities to boost tourism and trade with our governments' partners and empowering a new generation of women to lead on and off the pitch.  Since its launch, Football Australia has secured $18 million in funding from the Federal Government in support of Legacy ‘23. 
  • Revamping Australian football’s national knock out competition by allocating a qualification slot into Asian football competitions, shifting the latter stage of the competition’s calendar from weekdays to weekends, and negotiating the final to be played on free to air TV. 
  • Successfully led the negotiation of a six-part docu-series with the Walt Disney Company for a Disney+ Original which will tell the story of the Australian women’s national football team, the Commonwealth Bank Matildas, as they prepare for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ on home soil alongside co-host New Zealand.

James is now leading key initiatives for Australian football including the digital transformation of community football in Australian football; creating new national-level competitions (men and women) and reimagining Australian football products as the game adapts to the evolving habits of football participants; introducing a new player transfer system; continuing to grow the commercial revenues for the sport, and building Australian football’s men’s and women’s national team (Socceroos and Matildas) into global iconic sports brands. 

James is a regularly featured speaker at sports conferences domestically and across the globe.

Alex Davani - Executive Office and Strategy

Alex Davani

Alex Davani joined Football Australia in January 2021, as Head of Executive Office and Strategy, after contracting to the organization in 2020, working closely with the Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson, to develop Football Australia’s XI Principles for the Future of Australian Football.

A qualified Lawyer by trade, with a Master of Laws from the University of Melbourne, Alex has worked at ExxonMobil Papua New Guinea in both a Government Relations capacity and as In-House Legal Counsel.

A former Papua New Guinea Men’s Football International, Captaining at U20 and U23 levels, Alex has also enjoyed various roles with the Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee (‘PNGOC’) including Director and Board Member, Chair of its Athletes’ Commission and Commercial Manager.  Alex has also been on the Athletes’ Commission of the Oceania National Olympic Committees.

After founding his sports consultancy service in Papua New Guinea, advising clients including the PNGOC, FIFPro Asia and Oceania, Professional Football clubs throughout the Asia-Pacific region, and FIFA’s Development Department, he relocated to Australia and currently works closely with Football Australia CEO, James Johnson, providing strategic advice across all areas of Football Australia.

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.

Nina McDonnell - Head of People and Culture

Photo and 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. 

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

Prior to joining Football Australia, Jenny forged an award-winning career in SaaS 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 co-founded ABTY, an international digital art start-up and business technology consultancy. She is passionate about building business success and delivering technology for great experience, value, and growth. Jenny has held leadership roles in digital, technology, innovation, data, strategy, programs, and operations across multiple industries.

Jenny served in directorship roles, in parallel with her corporate career, at leading organisations such as Engineers Australia, NDIS accommodation & services provider The Housing Connection, and University of Technology. She helped nurture industry talent as a 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 Holland, AECOM, Clayton Utz, Minter Ellison, Roberts Co, Architectus, and E3 Advisory.  

Jenny inherited her Dad’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 and is a member of Fishburners Start-up Founders Hub.

Will Hastie - Head of Member Federation Relations and Community

Will Hastie Profile

Will Hastie was appointed as Football Australia’s Head of Member Federation Relations and Community in January 2022.

Will has fulfilled many roles in Australian football including as an Australian youth representative, professional player, B licensed coach, club technical director, administrator, and volunteer.

In Will’s most recent role he was General Manager of Football at Football Victoria with responsibility for the strategy and operations of the State’s NPL and Community football competitions. This included fixturing 40,000 matches per year, working with the State’s 1200 referees, developing and implementing the State’s Girls and Boys competitions strategy, engagement with the State’s 365 football clubs and full P & L responsibility for the department.

Previously, Will was Manager, Player Services and Community at Professional Footballers Australia (The PFA) leading the organisation’s Player Welfare programs, Marketing and Communications, Commercialisation and Awards and Events programs.

Will has also spent time in Sales and Marketing roles with NAB, Australia Post and Credit Union Australia.

Will’s passion is community football and believes that sport’s magic is in its ability to provide equal opportunities to communities within which to engage.

Will has a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) and sits on the AFC Development Committee.

Nathan Magill - Head of Referees

N Magill Profile

Nathan has had extensive involvement in refereeing and competition management across multiple levels of Australian football, including being a member of the Football Australia Referees Committee and a leading referee instructor and coach.

He is a graduate of a Graduate Certificate of Business Administration from Torrens University, Adelaide. His sports administration career has seen him hold management positions with Cricket Australia, South Australian Cricket Association and Football South Australia, providing him with a diverse experience across competitions, high performance and officiating.

As a former member of the Football Australia Referees Committee, Nathan played a key leadership role in developing strategies to support the transition towards a high-performance model for officiating.

Nathan has Football Australia at several FIFA Futuro Referee Technical Instructors courses, enhancing and further developing his technical knowledge and football experience at a national and international level and strengthening his connection with FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation