Professional Footballers' Association

Last updated

PFA
Professional Footballers' Association
Founded1907
Headquarters20 Oxford Court, Bishopsgate, Manchester
Location
  • England and Wales, United Kingdom
Members
5,000
Key people
Maheta Molango (chief executive)
John Mousinho (chairman)
Affiliations TUC, GFTU, FEU, FIFPro
Website www.thepfa.com

The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) is the trade union for professional association footballers in England and Wales. The world's oldest professional sport trade union, it has over 5,000 members.

Contents

The aims of the PFA are to protect, improve and negotiate the conditions, rights and status of all professional players by collective bargaining agreements. [1]

The PFA is affiliated with the Professional Footballers' Association Scotland. The Northern Ireland PFA disbanded in 1995. [2]

The PFA's next AGM scheduled for 26 November 2020, is set to confirm the appointment of four new non-executive Directors, expected to herald further and long awaited radical reforms of the existing PFA Management. [3]

History

The Players' Union

"Outcasts FC" photograph taken before the 1909-10 season. Outcasts fc 1909 postcard.jpg
"Outcasts FC" photograph taken before the 1909–10 season.

The PFA was formed on 2 December 1907 as the Association Football Players' and Trainers' Union (AFPTU; commonly referred to at the time as the Players' Union). On that date, Charlie Roberts and Billy Meredith (who had been involved in the AFU), both of Manchester United, convened the Players' Union at Manchester's Imperial Hotel.

This was the second attempt to organise a union of professional footballers in England, after the Association Footballers' Union (the "AFU"), formed in 1898, had been dissolved in 1901. The AFU had failed in its objectives of bringing about a relaxation of the restrictions on the movement of players from one club to another in the Football League and preventing the introduction of a maximum wage of £4 per week for players in the Football League.

Like the AFU before it, the Players' Union intended to challenge the maximum wage and the restriction on transfers, in the form of the "retain and transfer" system.

Threatened strike action in 1909

When the Players' Union made its objectives clear in 1909, the Football Association withdrew its recognition of the Union, which at that time was seeking to join the U.K.'s General Federation of Trade Unions ('GFTU').

In response, the Union threatened strike action. The Football Association in turn banned players affiliated with the AFPTU before the start of the 1909–10 season. The ban saw membership of the Union fall. However, players from Manchester United refused to relinquish their membership. League clubs turned to amateur players to replace players that had been banned, but Manchester United were not able to find enough replacements, risking the cancellation of their opening fixture at home to Bradford City. The Manchester United players were called "Outcasts FC". [4]

The deadlock swung in favour of the Union when Tim Coleman of Everton came out in support of the Union. Coleman's intervention resuscitated support for the Union, which regained its strength of numbers. Agreement was reached on official recognition for the Union in exchange for allowing bonus payments to be made to players to supplement the maximum wage. The maximum wage remained for more than another half century. [5]

Continuing battles with the Football League

The 1910s saw the Union backing a challenge by Herbert Kingaby against the retain and transfer system in the courts. Kingaby brought legal proceedings against his former employers, Aston Villa, for preventing him from playing. The Players' Union funded the proceedings. Erroneous strategy by Kingaby's counsel resulted in the suit ending disastrously for the Union. [6] The Union were almost ruined financially and membership fell drastically.

Although membership increased from 300 in 1915 to well over 1000 by 1920 this did not herald a new era of radicalism among the rank-and-file. Widespread unemployment heralded declines in attendance at Football League matches at a time when many clubs had, once again, committed themselves to expensive ground improvement programmes in the expectation that the post-war spectator boom would continue indefinitely. Inevitably, this caused financial difficulties at many clubs. Clubs believed their problems were due to players' excessive wages rather than over-expansion. In the spring of 1922, they persuaded the League authorities to arbitrarily impose a £1 cut to the maximum wage (£9 a week at that time) and force clubs to reduce the wages of players who were on less than the maximum. Legal proceedings backed by the Players' Union this time established that clubs could not unilaterally impose a cut in players' contracted wages. [6]

Between 1946 and 1957 the Chairman of the Union was former Portsmouth captain Jimmy Guthrie. His book Soccer Rebel, published in 1976, documents his chairmanship and the struggle of the Union to improve the lot of professional footballers in the years preceding the abolition of the maximum wage.

In 1955, the union affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC). [7]

Modernisation

In 1956, Jimmy Hill became secretary of the Players' Union. He soon changed the union's name to the Professional Footballers' Association (the "PFA"), changing a blue collar image to one in keeping with the new wave of working-class actors and entertainers. [8]

In 1957, Jimmy Hill became chairman of the PFA and campaigned to have the Football League's £20 maximum wage scrapped, which he achieved in January 1961. [9] His Fulham teammate Johnny Haynes became the first £100 player.

The PFA also backed George Eastham in his legal action against the retain and transfer system, providing him with £15,000 to pay for his legal fees. The case was brought against his former club, Newcastle United, in the High Court. In 1963, The Court held that the retain and transfer system was an unreasonable restraint of trade.

From 1960, the union began representing trainers, and for a time was known as the "Professional Footballers' and Trainers' Association". [7]

The union decided to register under the Industrial Relations Act 1971, something the TUC opposed. As a result, it left the TUC in 1973, finally rejoining in 1995. [7]

Sexism controversy

In 1997 some Sheffield United players invited their agent, Rachel Anderson, to the annual awards dinner. [10] Anderson was turned away by then PFA Deputy Chief Executive Brendon Batson because she is a woman. [11]

The following year, when West Ham United F.C. player Julian Dicks invited Anderson to attend the dinner, [11] Anderson contacted the PFA to find out what their reaction would be. [10] On receiving a response that she would indeed be banned Anderson decided to go public and take the PFA to court. [11] As a result, the Minister for Sport, Tony Banks, and the Chief Executive of The Football Association, Graham Kelly boycotted the event. [12]

Anderson won in court and the financial cost to the PFA was considerable, Anderson suggests "over £200,000", [10] of which she received £7,500 for "hurt feelings" and an undisclosed amount for "reasonable costs". [11]

In 2013 the PFA instituted awards for the PFA Women's Players' Player of the Year. Kim Little was the recipient in the first year. [13]

Dispute with Ben Purkiss

In November 2018 it became public that Ben Purkiss' eligibility to be Chairman was in dispute. [14] More than 200 players wrote an open letter calling on chief executive Gordon Taylor to stand down. [15] Taylor wrote an open letter in response [16] promising a full and open review of the union's structure and operation. At its 2018 AGM, held in Manchester in March 2019, it was agreed that Taylor, Purkiss and the entire management committee would stand down following the completion of a "full and open review" into the PFA's finances and its presentation at the 2019 AGM, [17]

PFA Awards

In 1974, the PFA created three awards to be given to players – or people who have contributed a lot to the game – every year.[ citation needed ]

In 1974 they introduced the first team based award:

In 2001, they created another award:[ citation needed ]

In 2013 and 2014 respectively, the PFA instituted the first female awards:

At this time the PFA Player of the Year award was renamed Men's PFA Player of the Year [19] and the PFA Young Player of the Year was renamed Men's PFA Young Player of the Year. [20]

In 2020, the PFA added another award for the women:

Present day objectives

In association with other football bodies, the PFA are the managing agents for the "Football Scholarship Programme" and the "Football in the Community Programme".

It is a member of the Institute of Professional Sport and FIFPro – the confederation of international football players' unions – as well as the Trades Union Congress. Its current chief executive is Gordon Taylor, a former player with Blackburn Rovers. Many of the key personnel within the PFA are also ex-professionals, including Deputy Chief Executives John Bramhall and Bobby Barnes. [22]

The PFA also fund various education programmes for ex and current players. The oldest is a link with the University of Salford which has been running since 1991 and which by 2007 had seen over 70 players complete degrees in Physiotherapy. Additionally players complete Sports Science degrees from Manchester Metropolitan University and Professional Sports Writing and Broadcasting degrees at Staffordshire University, [23] [24] in addition to other programmes including fitness training, training to become driving instructors and various other initiatives.

From 2001/02 season, the PFA worked closely with the Press Association as part of the Football Live project, to manage a team of up to 80 ex-professional footballers to provide statistical information live from all English Football Matches. This agreement switched to OPTA when they successfully took over the supply of data from 2012/13 season.

The PFA also funds a residential rehabilitation scheme that allows any injured member to attend the Lilleshall Sports Injury Rehabilitation centre for physiotherapy and sports injury treatment free of charge to the player or club. The scheme is designed to complement the medical care available at the players own club. Many club Physios refer their players to Lilleshall with the intention of providing a change of environment. This helps to maintain the motivation & interest of long term injured players. The free sports injury and physiotherapy services are based at the Lilleshall Hall National Sports Centre in Shropshire. [25] [26]

Centenary

2007 brought along the 100th year since the foundation of The Players Union, and to commemorate the centenary year, the PFA launched their "One Goal One Million" campaign. The campaign involved a whole year of celebratory fund-raising activities with the aim of raising £1 million to fully fund a new children's rehabilitation and physiotherapy unit at the University Children’s Hospital, Manchester. Throughout the year the PFA ran a number of high-profile events involving current and former players and managers with the sole purpose of reaching the £1 million target. [27] Events included a pro-celebrity golf event, race days and initiatives involving younger supporters. On the day that the PFA was formed in 1907 – 2 December – there was a match between an England Legends XI – captained by Alan Shearer and managed by Terry Venables – and a World Legends XI – captained by Gianfranco Zola and managed by Jürgen Klinsmann – culminating in a gala dinner in the evening involving a host of top entertainers.

In December of the centenary year, the PFA issued Fans' Favourites; a list of the favourite players at each Football League club. In making the selection, the PFA canvassed the opinions of the supporters of present, and some former, League clubs about their favourite player. [28]

Key personnel

Management committee

Chairmen

1907: Harry Mainman [29]
1910: Evelyn Lintott [29]
1911: Colin Veitch [29]
1919: Charlie Roberts [29]
1921: Jimmy Lawrence [29]
1922: Jimmy Fay [29]
1929: Howard Matthews [29]
1930: Arthur Wood [29]
1931: David Robbie [29]
1936: Albert Barrett [29]
1937: Sammy Crooks [29]
1946: Jimmy Guthrie [29]
1956: Jimmy Hill [29]
1961: Tommy Cummings [29]
1963: Malcolm Musgrove [29]
1966: Noel Cantwell [29]
1967: Terry Neill [29]
1970: Derek Dougan [29]
1978: Gordon Taylor [29]
1980: Alan Gowling [29]
1982: Steve Coppell [29]
1983:
1984: Brian Talbot
1988: Garth Crooks
1990: Brian Marwood
1993: Pat Nevin
1997: Barry Horne
2001: Nick Cusack [30]
2002: Richard Jobson
2003: Dean Holdsworth
2005: Chris Powell
2010: Clarke Carlisle
2013: Ritchie Humphreys
2017: Ben Purkiss
2021: John Mousinho

Chief Executives

This position was originally named "secretary".

1907: Herbert Broomfield [29]
1910: Albert Owen [29]
1913: Harry Newbould [29]
1929: Jimmy Fay [29]
1953: Cliff Lloyd [29]
1981: Gordon Taylor [29]
2021: Maheta Molango [29]

Deputy Chief Executives

PFA Executives

See also

Related Research Articles

PFA Players Player of the Year Annual award

The Professional Footballers' Association Men's Players' Player of the Year is an annual award given to the player who is adjudged to have been the best of the year in English football. The award has been presented since the 1973–74 season and the winner is chosen by a vote amongst the members of the players' trade union, the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA). The current holder is Kevin De Bruyne, who retained the award on 6 June 2021. The 2020 ceremony was postponed from its usual date in April or May due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

PFA Young Player of the Year

The Professional Footballers' Association Young Player of the Year is an annual award given to the young player who is adjudged to have been the best of the season in English football. As of 2021, players must have been aged 21 or under as of 1 July immediately preceding the start of the season; in the past the age limit has been 23, which led to criticism in the media over whether a player who was 24 years old at the end of the season could really be considered "young" in footballing terms. The award has been presented since the 1973–74 season and the winner is chosen by a vote amongst the members of the players' trade union, the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA). The first winner of the award was Ipswich Town defender Kevin Beattie. The current holder is Phil Foden, who won the award on 6 June 2021.

FWA Footballer of the Year Annual award

The Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year is an annual award given to the player who is adjudged to have been the best of the season in English football. The award has been presented since the 1947–48 season, with the inaugural winner being Blackpool winger Stanley Matthews. The latest winner of the award as of 2020–21 is Rúben Dias of Manchester City. Eight players have won the award on more than one occasion, with Thierry Henry having won the award on the most occasions, with three wins in four seasons.

The 1911–12 season was the 41st season of competitive football in England.

Gordon Alexander Taylor OBE is an English former professional footballer who played as a winger. He was chief executive of the English footballers' trades union, the Professional Footballers' Association, for over 40 years, between 1981 and 2021. In March 2019 it was reported that he is to stand down after the completion of a "full and open review" into the PFA's finances is presented at its 2019 AGM, along with its entire management committee and chairman Ben Purkiss. He is reputed to be the highest paid union official in the world. The 2020 PFA AGM is scheduled for 26 November, and is expected to appoint four non-executive directors. In September 2020 the chair of the all party group on gambling, Carolyn Harris voiced her reservations on gambling related harm exampled by the Union's CEO.

PFA Team of the Year English football Award

The Professional Footballers' Association Team of the Year is an annual award given to a set of 55 footballers across the top four tiers of men's English football; the Premier League, the Championship, League One and League Two, as well as the women's FA WSL, who are seen to be deserving of being named in a "Team of the Year". Peter Shilton currently holds the most appearances in the PFA Team of the Year in the top division with 10 appearances. Steven Gerrard currently holds the most appearances in the PFA Team of the Year in the Premier League era with eight appearances.

The Association Footballers' Union, formed in England in 1898, was the first attempt by football players in the United Kingdom to organize themselves into a union.

Players Union

The Association Football Players' and Trainers' Union (AFPTU), commonly known as the Players' Union, in the United Kingdom was the original association that became the Professional Footballers' Association. Their stated aims were freedom of movement of players and obtaining the same employment rights as other workers.

PFA Merit Award

The Professional Footballers' Association Merit Award is an award given by the Professional Footballers' Association for meritorious service to football.

Brian Joseph Taylor was an English footballer who played as a winger. In a career spanning over sixteen years he made 316 league appearances in the Football League.

The retain and transfer system was a restriction that existed in England from 1893 until 1963 on the freedom of professional association football players to transfer from one Football League club to another. The system remained in place until the High Court ruled in 1963 that it was an unjustifiable restraint of trade.

Ben Purkiss Current chairman of the Professional Footballers Association and an English former professional footballer who played as a defender

Benjamin John Purkiss is the current Chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association and an English former professional footballer who played as a defender. In March 2019, it was reported that he would stand down as chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) after the completion of a "full and open review" into the PFA, along with its chief executive, Gordon Taylor.

The following is a history of strike action in association football.

Izzy Christiansen English footballer

Isobel Mary Christiansen is an English footballer who plays as a midfielder or forward for Everton in the FA WSL and the England national team.

Herbert Charles Lawrence Kingaby (1880-1934) was an English footballer, an outside right for Clapton Orient, Aston Villa, Fulham and Peterborough City.

PFA Team of the Year (2010s)

The Professional Footballers' Association Team of the Year is an annual award given to a set of 55 footballers across the top four tiers of men's English football; the Premier League, the Championship, League One and League Two, as well as the women's FA WSL, who are seen to be deserving of being named in a "Team of the Year". Peter Shilton currently holds the most appearances in the PFA Team of the Year in the top division with 10 appearances. Steven Gerrard currently holds the most appearances in the PFA Team of the Year in the Premier League era with eight appearances.

PFA Womens Young Player of the Year

The Professional Footballers' Association Women's Young Player of the Year is an annual award given to the player who is voted to have been the best of the year in English women's football. The award has been presented since the 2013–14 season and the winner is chosen by a vote amongst the members of the players' trade union, the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA).

The 2020–21 season is Chelsea Women's 29th competitive season and 11th consecutive season in the FA Women's Super League and at the top flight of English women's football.

The American Football Union (AFU) was a coalition of amateur, semi-professional, and collegiate club football teams that operated from 1886 to 1895 in the New York metropolitan area. Although the minor league was practically inconsequential and obscure in the development of professional American football, the Orange Athletic Club, who participated in the league from 1888 to 1895, would go on to become the Orange and Newark Tornadoes, and join the NFL for two seasons in 1929 and 1930.

PFA Team of the Year (2020s)

The Professional Footballers' Association Team of the Year is an annual award given to a set of 55 footballers across the top four tiers of men's English football; the Premier League, the Championship, League One and League Two, as well as the women's FA WSL, who are seen to be deserving of being named in a "Team of the Year". Peter Shilton currently holds the most appearances in the PFA Team of the Year in the top division with 10 appearances. Steven Gerrard currently holds the most appearances in the PFA Team of the Year in the Premier League era with eight appearances.

References

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Further reading