Gary Neville says PFA will change after appointment of four new senior figures

Gary Neville says PFA will change after appointment of four new senior figures

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor
Gordon Taylor will stand down two years after first announcing his intention to do so

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville says “change is going to be happening” at the Professional Footballers’ Association.

The former England right-back turned pundit has been helping the players’ union begin the process of finding a new chief executive.

Last month Gordon Taylor confirmed he was finally stepping down at the end of this season.

Taylor, 75, has held the role since 1981.

Neville has led a selection panel for the key appointments of four new independent non-executive directors who will choose Taylor’s replacement.

He said all four had “transformational change experience”, and would represent a “fresh start… driving that change through”.

The four new directors joining the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) are Amazon executive Darren Hardman, Facebook executive Trevor Johnson, the chair of Women in Football Ebru Koksal and youth activist and leading sports administrator Geoff Thompson.

Hailing the diversity and experience of the appointees, Neville said their “world-class skills and expertise” would be “crucial as the organisation evolves and moves forward”.

“In recommending these appointments, [we] were determined to introduce new thinking and innovation to the organisation and to football more generally,” he said.

“We are confident that we have done that and that this group will support, challenge and assist the PFA in the best way possible.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been in a position to influence the outcome of governance in key positions in English football. We had to make a change.”

More than two years ago, the PFA began an independent QC-led review following intense criticism of the players’ union, and calls for modernisation and greater scrutiny.

The review was completed in July, recommending a governance overhaul, but Neville declined to say whether he wanted it to be published in full. So far only a summary of its conclusions has been released.

“I want independence, I want transparency, and I want football to change and come out of this rut it is in,” said Neville, who has also said he wants an independent football regulator to be appointed.

“However, it would be very unhelpful for me to say that review should or shouldn’t be published. I am an outsider. It isn’t in my gift.

“The four new directors and whoever the new chief executive is haven’t had the chance to read the review yet. It’s their job to decide.

“But I have faith the four directors we’ve selected will do the right thing.”

A new ‘players’ board’ is to be established as the overall decision-making authority of the PFA.

An ‘operational board’, including the new chief executive, chair, and the four non-executive directors will oversee the day-to-day running of the organisation.

Taylor has been credited with negotiating the PFA’s biggest source of income – about £25m per year from the Premier League.

But there has been controversy over his £2m salary for years, and the PFA has also come under renewed scrutiny around the issue of dementia, which is a growing concern for former players over a perceived lack of action and support.

A Charity Commission investigation into the PFA Charity is also ongoing.

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