Who We Are

His Royal Highness Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein Founder

"Football plays an important role in strengthening relations between nations and people of different cultures and backgrounds"

Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein is the son of the late King Hussein and Queen Alia of Jordan. Throughout his 15 years in football leadership positions, he has been an advocate for development and good governance.

Prince Ali was educated in Jordan, the United Kingdom and United States. He graduated from Salisbury School in Connecticut in 1993 and attended the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.

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The Prince is an honorary major general in the Jordanian Armed Forces and served as commander of the King’s Special Security in Jordan’s Royal Guards from 1999 until 2008. He left to establish Jordan’s National Centre for Security and Crisis Management. Prince Ali has used football to promote development throughout Asia, focusing on young people and women’s football. In 1999, he became president of the Jordan Football Association and a year later, he founded the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF), an organisation which he remains president of. In 2012, Prince Ali founded the Asian Football Development Project (AFDP), a non-profit based in Amman, Jordan. It promotes football in Asia and empowers young people and women in the region through the sport. AFDP spearheaded successful campaigns to lift the ban on headscarves in football and increase the number of countries taking part in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League from 11 to 23. Prince Ali sat on the executive committee at AFC itself. He has also chaired its social responsibility committee and been deputy chair of its development committee. On the basis of his commitment to unite and energise Asian football, Prince Ali was elected the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) vice president for Asia in 2011. He has also sat on the executive committee at FIFA, chaired its fair play and social responsibility committee and been deputy chair of its football committee. Prince Ali holds a number of foreign decorations, including the Al-Nahda decoration of the first degree from the United Arab Emirates, a British Knighthood (KCVO), the French Légion d’honneur, and the Order of the Rising Sun of Japan. He is also chair of Jordan’s Royal Film Commission.

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  • Executive Team23
    • London office
      • Jean Francois Cecillon CEO & Board Director

        Jean Francois Cecillon CEO & Board Director

        JF has led organisations in a variety of fields, including music, publishing, game, live events, digital space and art.

        JF’s music business career started in his birth country, France, in 1983, two years after graduating from the ISG International Business School in Paris, and a year after serving in the French Army. He worked for several companies including, Chappell Music Publishing, PolyGram Records and EMI Music France.

        JF moved to London in 1990.

        In 1995, he became president and CEO of EMI Records Group, UK and Ireland. He was responsible for signing Britain’s all time biggest-selling recording artist, Robbie Williams, and was closely involved with world class acts, such as Pink Floyd, Queen, Tina Turner, Diana Ross and Sir Paul McCartney.

        JF later became chair and CEO of EMI Music Europe, taking regional responsibility for all of the company’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. As chair and CEO of EMI Music International, from 2007, JF had worldwide responsibility for the company’s €1 billion business operations outside North America and the UK. He led the company’s digital transformation and carried out a £100 million cost-saving programme across 42 markets.

        As SEGA Europe CEO, from 1998 to 2001, JF launched the game console Dreamcast and pioneered the alliance between football fans and gamers. He also signed pan-European sponsorship deals with prominent football clubs, including Arsenal FC in England, Saint-Etienne in France, Deportivo La Coruna in Spain and Sampdoria in Italy.

        In 2003, JF became director and producer of the 46664 project, the music-led HIV/AIDS awareness-raising campaign. It was run in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, for which JF was a board director.  In this role, JF co-produced the biggest concert ever in Africa, with 35 artists including, U2, Queen, Eurythmics, Peter Gabriel, Yussuf Islam, Bob Geldof and Beyoncé.

        At the Really Useful Group in 2009, as vice chair, JF worked closely with owner Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber to bring the company into the digital age, promoting musicals and renegotiating a string of global contracts.

        In 2014, as chair/CEO at EagleMoss Publishing Group, JF led a complex financial restructure, resulting in a demerger, asset sale and debt write-off while maintaining full employment of 2,000 staff.

        JF has also created in 2001 his own portfolio of work, which included marketing, media investment and event production. In 2011, he created another portfolio of digital start-ups, for which he acted as board director, interim CEO and senior adviser.

        Before joining AFDP Global as CEO, he was managing director at Waddington Custot Galleries Limited, one of the most prominent London-based art dealers in Europe and where he worked with many artists including Ian Davenport and Sir Peter Blake.

        London-based JF is married to Catherine with three children, Jessica, Johan and Raphael. He’s a member of the Royal Automobile Club, an Arsenal season ticket holder and a member of Queen’s Club, as well as active with the entrepreneurs’ group French Connect London and Cercle d’Outre-Manche, a business think-tank. JF enjoys football, tennis, skiing, sci-fi, geopolitics, travel, and driving cars and boats.

      • Marion Vayson de Pradenne CFO & Company Secretary

        Marion Vayson de Pradenne CFO & Company Secretary

        Marion moved from Paris to London with her family 6 years ago.

        Following a master’s degree in audit and financial analysis, she has developed over 13 years’ experience of managing teams and clients around the world and a master’s degree in audit and financial analysis.

        Before joining AFDP Global, Marion worked for professional service company KPMG in Paris and London where she held several senior position on both sides of the channel.

        In particular, she was an auditor for major global oil & gas organizations and has experience of developing and strengthening client relationships to provide strategic support.

        Marion’s work in a variety of cultures helped her to realize that some people need help to get out of a reality they haven’t chosen.

        She decided that she would use her experience and skills to support projects that make a difference and support communities in need.

        Her involvement with AFDP Global happened as the natural outcome of her new personal ambition.

        At AFDP Global, she will be involved in the financial and legal aspects of the company and closely associated with programs, fundraising and strategic decisions.

        Marion is a passionate mountain trekker, competition skier and theatre actress.

        She lives in London with her husband Pierre-Edouard and her three sons Maxence, Theophile and Arthur.

      • Shimon
        Cohen
        Director of Communications & Board Director

        Shimon
        Cohen
        Director of Communications & Board Director

        Shimon is the founder and chair of The PR Office, a London-based public relations consultancy. He is a media relations and reputation management specialist who has advised a wide range of clients, including, governments, multinationals, public and voluntary sector organisations, and political, religious and business leaders.

        At The PR Office, Shimon works with clients in professional services, business, entertainment, sport, technology and the voluntary sector. He advises chair people, chief executive officers and high profile sports and media personalities.

        Shimon led the international communications and PR team for HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein’s International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) presidential bid.

        He also led on communications for former South African president Nelson Mandela’s 46664 campaign, which raises awareness of HIV/AIDS and social injustice. He wrote speeches for Mandela and was head of the communications team that saw the United Nations establish Nelson Mandela Day.

        Shimon carries out a range of voluntary work, especially connected to special educational needs. He is a loyal Cardiff City supporter and is married with three daughters.

    • Amman Office
      • Abdullah Suleiman Project Manager

        Abdullah Suleiman Project Manager

        Abdullah has been a project manager for HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein and AFDP since 2011. He was involved in the Prince’s International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) presidency campaigns.

        Before taking up this role, Abdullah was a performance consultant at FIFA, developing football projects in West Asia. And, at Midrar Sports in Jordan, Abdullah worked in marketing and organised sporting events in football, mixed martial arts, and boxing.

        His first experience of working in football was heading up the international relations department at the Jordan Football Association. Abdullah has been a consultant for FIFA in Amman and managed projects with artificial turf manufacturers in Jordan.

        He has been involved in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup 2018 and Cup Final 2007.

        Before starting his career in sport, Abdullah managed three successful trading companies and worked in international trading and procurement.

        He has a degree in mechanical engineering from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and spends his free time doing activities related to his love of cars.

  • Advisory Board23
    • HRH Prince Ali Bin Hussein Chair

    • Yuuichiro Nakajima

      Yuuichiro Nakajima

      Yuuichiro has over 30 years’ experience in corporate finance and is an experienced non-executive director and adviser.

      He founded, and is a managing director of, his own M&A advisory company, Crimson Phoenix, which works with leading Japanese and Western corporates.

      Yuuichiro has vast experience at the board level. He is a Non-executive Director and member of the Audit and Nominations Committees of JPMorgan Japan Smaller Companies Trust plc, a London-listed investment trust that invests in companies on the Japanese stock markets.

      Since 2017, Yuuichiro has been a member of the Audit and Compliance Committee at Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The Committee checks FIFA’s financial accounting, reviews their external auditors’ report and oversees legal and regulatory compliance.

      He has been a member of various committees at the Asian Football Confederation, the governing body of football in Asia, since 2011. In these roles, he has overseen AFC’s finances, challenged its governance practice and coordinated an investigation into past financial misconduct by certain individuals.

      At the Japan Football Association (JFA), Yuuichiro was involved in Japan’s bid to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. He is currently a member of JFA’s Advisory Board as well as its International Committee, a consultative body on overseas activities.

      A Japanese national, Yuuichiro studied at London Business School (a British Council scholar) and at Keio University. He plays for the London Japanese Football Club and YKT Football Club in Tokyo. He is also a JFA-registered player and referee.

    • Jim
      Ellis

      Jim
      Ellis

      Jim has had a 30-year career in sports administration and management.

      He was campaign manager for HRH Prince Ali bin Al Hussein’s International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) 2016 presidential campaign.

      Since 2014, he has worked as manager of community sport at Sport New Zealand, the country’s sport and recreation agency.

      Between 2007 and 2014, he was Chief Executive of Equestrian Sports New Zealand and prior to that the Executive Director of University Sport New Zealand.

      He emigrated from the UK to New Zealand in 2004. For the preceding ten years, Jim worked for the British Universities Sports Association in London. He retains a close interest in university sport and is a commission member of FISU, the International University Sport Federation.

      He grew up in Bristol before studying economics at the University of Sussex. Jim has a lifetime passion for Bristol Rovers Football Club.

      He plays football himself, as a goalkeeper, and has coached and refereed his children’s football teams. Jim lives in Wellington, New Zealand, with his wife Katy and children Sam, 16, and Molly, 12.

    • James
      Johnson

      James
      Johnson

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

      He is currently Senior Vice President, External Affairs, at City Football Group. He was previously 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.

      Prior to this, James was director of international relations and development at the Asian Football Confederation. 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, 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.

      He lives in Knutsford in the UK, is married to Jessica and has three children Portia, Quinn and Lincoln.

    • Amanda Vandervort

      Amanda Vandervort

      Amanda is a sports business executive with a 20-year track record of leadership and innovation stretching across all areas of the game. She believes that everyone who wants to get involved in football should have an opportunity to do so, and benefit from the education and support to be successful.

      As vice president of fan engagement at Major League Soccer (MLS), the first division men’s football league in the US, Amanda works with club executives to drive revenue and deliver compelling fan experiences. She was previously responsible for the league’s fan relationship management, data analytics and social media teams. This work was instrumental in the organisation winning Sports Business Journal’s 2018 Best in Social Media award.

      Amanda was an instructor for Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) women’s football for six years. She has led workshops on women’s football development, marketing and communications in India, Jamaica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Tanzania.

      Before she joined MLS, Amanda helped launch Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS), a first-division women’s professional football league in the US, leading the organisation’s media properties to become a global leader in women’s football.

      Amanda has played football as a goalkeeper at youth, high school, college and adult levels. She was captain for the University of Wyoming women’s football team and head women’s football coach at New York University.

      She has a diploma in football coaching from the US Soccer Federation (USSF) and served for 10 years on the board of directors for United Soccer Coaches, a non-profit football coaches’ organization in the US.  In 2016, she became the fifth female president in United Soccer Coaches’ 75-year history.

      Amanda has spoken at several top sports business conferences and events and was named a Sports Business Journal Game Changer in 2016.

      A native of Tucson, Arizona, in the US, Amanda lives in New York with her husband Ethan. She enjoys decorating cakes for corporate events, birthdays and weddings.

  • Ambassadors23
    • Gérard Houllier

      Gérard Houllier

      Gérard is an eminent French football manager and former player. During an illustrious managerial career, Houllier enjoyed six successful years at Liverpool, leading the to a famous FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup treble in 2001. The repertoire of historic clubs managed by Houllier includes the French national side, Paris Saint-Germain, Aston Villa, Olympique Lyonnais and Lens.

      Gerard was appointed as an AFDP Global ambassador in March 2019 and plays an invaluable role in promoting its work and vision. 

    • Karina LeBlanc

      Karina LeBlanc

      Karina has the distinguished honour of being Canada’s longest serving international soccer player. Over a prestigious 18-year international career, LeBlanc represented her country in five FIFA World Cups, two Olympic Games and two Pan American Games.

      A prominent goalkeeper in the US Professional Soccer Leagues, LeBlanc played for nine clubs and in many championship games, winning with the Portland Thorns. LeBlanc was a member of the history-making Canadian team who won a Bronze Medal in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Her heroics in the 2011 Pan Am Games – stopping two penalties in the final – helped to secure a momentous team Gold for Canada. With 110 international appearances, LeBlanc was the beating heart of a Canada team that changed the face of football in North America.

      Karina was appointed as an AFDP Global ambassador in March 2019 and was recently appointed Head of Women’s Football for Concacaf.

    • Robert Pires

      Robert Pires

      Robert is a French football star and current professional coach, whose remarkable legacy as a player is known the world over. 

      Pires was a key member of an unforgettable Arsenal side, that won two FA Cups and two Premier League titles and were coined ‘The Invincibles’ for their dominant, unbeaten season in 2003–04. An outstanding professional for 22 years, Pires was also a talisman for France, Metz, Marseille and Villareal. In his eight-year international career, Pires earned 79 caps for France, winning both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the 2000 UEFA European Championship.

      He is as an Ambassador for Arsenal, La Liga, The Premier League and Puma, and was appointed as an ambassador for AFDP Global in March 2019