Football Australia, headquartered in Sydney, governs soccer, futsal, and beach soccer in Australia. It originated in 1911 and took its current form in 1961 as the Australian Soccer Federation, then as the Australian Soccer Association in 2003, and later as the Football Federation Australia in 2005. Under CEO James Johnson’s guidance, it adopted the name Football Australia in December 2020 for greater cohesion.
Football Australia manages various national teams, coaching programs, and state governing bodies. It regulates professional, semi-professional, and amateur soccer in Australia. Notably, it shifted from the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in 2006 and the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) in 2013.
Football Australia traces its roots back to 1911 as the “Commonwealth Football Association.” Later, it went through several name changes, including the Australian Soccer Football Association and the Australian Soccer Federation. The organization faced issues with FIFA, leading to its disbandment and subsequent re-entry into the international football community in 1963.
Despite repeated attempts to join the Asian Football Confederation in the 1960s and 1970s, Australia found itself isolated, eventually forming the Oceania Football Federation in 1966. It later resigned from the OFC in 1972 to seek membership with the AFC, only to rejoin in 1978.
In 1995, the Australian Soccer Federation became Soccer Australia. Following allegations of fraud and mismanagement in 2003, it underwent significant restructuring under an interim board led by Frank Lowy. Subsequently, it was reconstituted as the Football Federation Australia (FFA) in 2005, signaling a shift in approach and distancing itself from past troubles.
On 1 January 2006, Football Federation Australia transitioned from the OFC to the AFC, aiming to bolster Australia’s FIFA World Cup qualification prospects and enable A-League clubs to compete in the AFC Champions League, enhancing the overall standard of Australian football.
In 2010, FFA withdrew its bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, focusing solely on the 2022 tournament, but ultimately fell short with just one vote in the bid process.
Australia gained full membership to the ASEAN Football Federation in 2013, while facing calls for removal from the AFC in 2015 due to perceived unequal contributions.
In June 2020, Australia won the bid to co-host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup with New Zealand.
The rebranding of Football Federation Australia to Football Australia took place in November 2020, aiming to streamline the organization’s branding with state member federations. Subsequently, the A-League, W-League, and Y-League were unbundled from Football Australia in December 2020, with the establishment of the Australian Professional Leagues assuming control of top-level football and associated intellectual property rights.
Since 1882, soccer in Australia has operated under a federated model with a national body, nine state and territory federations, and over 100 district, regional, and local associations, including:
- Capital Football
- Northern NSW Football
- Football NSW
- Football Northern Territory
- Football Queensland
- Football South Australia
- Football Tasmania
- Football Victoria
- Football West