March 28 – Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) which represents players in England and Wales, is to step down after 38 years amid heightened criticism of his reported £2 million annual salary, believed to be one of the highest in the world for a trade union official.
Four months ago an open letter calling Taylor to quit was endorsed by more than 200 current and former players and he has now agreed to do so pending the conclusion of a “full and open review” of the organisation’s finances and governance. He will stay on until then, the PFA said after its annual general meeting adding that its entire management committee would also be replaced.
“I have given the majority of my life to the advancement of the PFA,” Taylor, an instantly recognisable figure in the English game, told the meeting.
“Every decision I have made has been in the interest of members and I believe the review will make the PFA – the oldest and most powerful sporting union in the world – even stronger. It will ensure we have the right structures in place to support our former, current and future members.
“It goes without saying that I am extremely proud of the work and input that the PFA has had on the development of the greatest game in the world, and I will continue to fight for the organisation, its members and our role in the game – both in this country and worldwide.”
Taylor, who played professionally himself for 18 years, is credited with negotiating the PFA’s biggest source of income – around £25 million per year from the Premier League. He also established community programmes and youth training schemes (now apprenticeships) at all 92 professional football clubs.
More recently, he has pushed for English football to adopt the so-called Rooney Rule named after Pittsburgh Steelers gridiron football owner Dan Rooney and designed to boost the number of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) coaches in the game.
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