Under-fire PFA bows to pressure and agrees to independent review

Under-fire PFA bows to pressure and agrees to independent review

The Professional Footballers' Association has recommended an independent review is held into the organisation, the union has announced.

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor, who has been in his role for 37 years, has come under increasing scrutiny in recent days, with players calling for a review into the organisation.

And the PFA on Wednesday announced a "full and open review" will be held, led by an independent QC.

The idea of an independent review was first raised by PFA chairman Ben Purkiss, with more than 200 current and former players joining the call.

And the PFA has relented, issuing a statement on Wednesday, which read: "The PFA, as the world's oldest professional sport union, has only been a success by listening to our members and continually evolving to meet their needs.

"We owe it to our members and to football to hold ourselves to the highest possible standards. We believe we do. However, criticism must not be swept under the carpet.

"We will therefore be recommending to the board of trustees and management committee that an independent QC conducts a full and open review into the structure and operation of the PFA as the trade union for professional footballers in England and Wales."

An independent review also has the support of the Dawn Astle, the daughter of former West Brom and England star Jeff Astle, who died in 2002 of a degenerative brain disease.

She has repeatedly clashed with Taylor over the union's response to the growing evidence which suggests that disease is linked to heading the ball.

Last year, the PFA finally agreed to commit £100,000 for research into the matter, but this was less than five per cent of Taylor's 2017 pay of £2.2m and less than one per cent of its annual income of nearly £28m.

Those huge discrepancies are just two of the issues Purkiss has raised since becoming PFA chairman last November.

In announcing the review, which must be rubber stamped by its trustees and management committee, the PFA defended its record.

The statement said: "Over the last few days, we have heard the criticisms levelled at the leadership of the PFA.

"While we would always defend our record in supporting professional footballers - including on mental health, diversity and player welfare - we accept there are areas we can improve."

A timeframe for the review is still to be determined.

An open letter from Taylor was also published on the PFA website, in which he expressed pride at his work.

He wrote: "It is important that we are transparent, committed to constantly improving and restless in our mission to support you."

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