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Player Engagement

player engagement

2014/15 Season Overview

The PFA’s commitment to its Corporate Social Responsibilities programmes continue to be at the heart of the union’s work as we seek to effect positive change in society. Over the past 12 months our members have once again been instrumental in much of this activity exceeding 40,000 player appearances in support of club initiatives in Health, Education, Social Inclusion and Equalities.

We have seen their ability to positively influence young and old alike whilst acknowledging that their privileged position can inspire and motivate even the most hard to reach in our communities.

It is the 10th consecutive season that the PFA have collated a statistical analysis of player engagement from all professional clubs, through collaboration and close support from Chief Executives, Community Managers, Player Liaison Officers and Player Delegates. It has been of great interest to watch the increased commitment of our members, the growth of appearances during that period from 9,000 to over 40,000 and the philanthropic approach to charitable involvement to those less fortunate.

As part of our international good causes work in 2014, I had the privilege along with some of the PFA’s Equalities team of meeting the Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu who once stated:

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

Great words from a great man and I believe the more players who commit, the more influence and power to change things positively can be achieved...

Our partnership support has once again been fundamental to our success this year through the Premier League/PFA Community Fund, The Football League Trust, the Football Conference Trust, The Princes Trust, Kick it Out, Show Racism the Red Card and FIFPro (International Players Union), along with long term relationships with The Bobby Moore Fund, The England Footballers Foundation, Know the Score, Coaching for Hope plus many more. You will see this partnership work covered in section 3 ‘working together’ (page 22). The PFA makes an annual financial commitment of approximately £7million to underpin these partnerships which only highlights just how important they are to our association.

The Capability Status criteria has continued to underpin much of our work with the Premier League and Football League community operations especially the PFA’s 10-point plan, which provides detailed guidelines around club commitment to player engagement. It has undoubtedly raised standards of support for players, provided greater opportunities for development and raised players expectations and participation levels.

The PFA once again sponsored the Player in the Community Award at the Football League Awards in April at the Brewery in London, which was deservedly won by Danny Shittu for his outstanding contributions off the field in the Community whilst at Millwall FC last season. On receiving his award Danny spoke very modestly about his achievement highlighted on page 15. He follows a fine list of exceptional ambassadors to have won the accolade in recent years including the likes of Darren Moore, Zesh Rehman, Tamika Mkandewire, Inigo Calderon and Reda Johnson.

Current and Former Players have continued to use their own Foundations this year to generate funds and awareness for greater impact both in this country and across the world. It has been pleasing to see on a local level and across the country James Milner generating substantial funds for the N.S.P.C.C, Help for Heroes and Leukaemia and Lymphoma research, Alan Shearer raising funds for his centre to provide much needed care for those with severe disabilities in the North East and Jamie Carragher providing opportunities for those less fortunate in Merseyside. The PFA have also continued to support players such as Heart for More Foundation (Tobi Alabi), the Jason Roberts Foundation, the DT38 Foundation (Dylan Tombides), the Danny Wallace Foundation, the Shaun Barker Foundation, the Stein Foundation and many more during this period.

Our International work early in May saw PFA coaches Chris Fairclough and Mark Jules accompany Jason Lee, Terry Angus, Michael Bennett and myself to South Africa to pass on skills to local youngsters in Education, Coaching, Equalities and Life skills. We visited some of the poorest townships in Johannesburg and Cape Town with our charity partner, Coaching for Hope, using football to break down barriers and impart knowledge and education for their daily lives. We were also able to present at the British High Commission in Pretoria, meet former political prisoners from Robben Island, provide Coach Education to former professional footballers and influence gang members at the ‘10 Years of Hope’ football tournament.

In conclusion, I would like to thank all our members for another great year of community engagement but it would be remiss of me not to highlight just a few creditable achievements. Firstly, to the England Women’s Football Team who raised all our hopes for a brighter future for the women’s game with their Bronze medal at the World Cup beating Germany in the process and also to the Special Olympics GB Football Teams who gained Gold and Silver at the World Games in Los Angeles. I would also like to mention Rachel Yankey for her OBE recognising her services to the Women’s game, Casey Stoney who received an MBE for services to football and to Jamie Carragher who won a Beacon Award for Philanthropy.

John Hudson - PFA Director Corporate Social Responsibility