Leaders in Conversation is a series that puts you in the room, fly-on-the-wall style, for discussions between the most influential leaders in sports and media. Our latest episode features James Johnson, CEO of Football Australia, Laura Georges, Secretary General at the French Football Federation and Robbie Fowler, the former England and Liverpool player, in an on-stage session led by Dubai Eye 103.8 host Chris McHardy. This discussion, titled ‘Football Development around the World’, was recorded in mid-March, as part of the Leaders Sport Business Summit Abu Dhabi.
James Johnson is the CEO of Football Australia, the country due to co-host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Prior to joining Football Australia in January 2020, Johnson held senior roles across the world of football, such as Director of International Relationships and Development at the Asian Football Confederation, and Head of Professional Football at FIFA.
An esteemed former player for the French national team, Laura Georges is now Secretary-General of the French Football Federation, the current men’s World Champions, and one of the national federations at the forefront of progressing the women’s game. Committed to the promotion of women’s football, Georges served as ambassador of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 in France and has overseen the development of the women’s refereeing plan.
Robbie Fowler is a former player and current manager, best known for his time with Liverpool between 1993 and 2001. To date, he remains Liverpool’s top scorer in the Premier League and is the eighth top scorer in Premier League history. Following his time in the UK, Fowler played in Australia and Thailand and has since transitioned into management, where he most recently managed East Bengal of the Indian Super League.
In this fascinating and wide-ranging discussion, the panel discuss, among many other topics, the possibility of biennial World Cup; what works and what doesn’t in different markets across the world when it comes to coaching and talent pathways; and how the development of technology is changing football, for better and for worse.
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