The trio left in the race to run football in Australia
Australian football's hunt for a new leader has narrowed to a shortlist of three names, as the race to succeed David Gallop as CEO of Football Federation Australia reaches the home strait.
The Daily Telegraph understands that the three who have been chosen for the final shortlist are global athletes union boss Brendan Schwab; Manchester City executive James Johnson; and former Liberal politician Robert Cavallucci, all of whom have been interviewed by FFA's board in recent days.
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Discussions among the board members are due to continue this week, with a further round of interviews possible before an appointment is confirmed by the end of the month.
All three have extensive football credentials, with Schwab's involvement in the game here extending back to helping establish the players' association in 1993, and Johnson having worked at senior levels in both FIFA and the AFC before moving to the City Group.
- Brendan Schwab
- Long-time strategist for the future of the game here, designed an Australian Premier League model more than 15 years ago whose central tenets are now being followed by the A-League.
- James Johnson
- One of the most powerful Australians in world football circles, first as a senior figure at FIFA and now as Senior Vice President for External Affairs at the City Group.
- Robert Cavallucci
- Politician and Brisbane deeply involved in the game at club and grassroots level in Brisbane. Ran an A-League bid that was well regarded at FFA but withdrew midway through.
Cavallucci is the surprise candidate of the three but is on the shortlist after impressing during interviews with both headhunters and members of the board.
Currently managing director of PwC's real-estate arm in Queensland, he was Minister for Multicultural Affairs in Campbell Newman's state government from 2012 to 2015.
But his involvement in football is extensive and he headed the Brisbane City bid for an A-League licence in the current round of expansion that ultimately withdrew for "strategic reasons" midway through the process.
He is a serving director of Football Queensland and also a member of both Brisbane Roar's advisory council and Jade North's 'Kicking with Cuz' charity, as well as an active player and coach.
Schwab has spent almost all of his professional life involved in advocating for players' rights as a lawyer and both chairman and CEO of the PFA, and is a vocal proponent of human rights.
After a period in charge of FIFPro, the umbrella organisation for players' associations around the world, he now heads the World Players' Association - representing some 85,000 athletes across myriad sports.
Johnson meanwhile has been described as the "cleanskin" candidate having not been directly involved in the game here for eight years.
After two years as the AFC's head of international development, he spent five and a half years as head of professional football at FIFA, dealing with the world's most powerful clubs and leagues.
Gallop is due to leave FFA at the end of the year, completing a six-year term after succeeding Ben Buckley.
The role is changing dramatically with the switch of the A-League out of FFA's control and into an independently run structure.
The new CEO will focus on driving new revenue streams for the game, the national teams and continuing the remarkable growth of the game at grassroots levels.
The change in focus will also bring a reduced pay packet, with a salary of some $500,000 having been discussed with the various candidates.