PFA review must continue alongside Charity Commission inquiry – Purkiss

By Jamie Gardner, PA Chief Sports Reporter

The independent review of the Professional Footballers’ Association must continue on its course alongside a statutory inquiry into the union’s charitable arm, chairman Ben Purkiss has said.

Purkiss led calls for a review of how the PFA was governed in 2018, with the union’s chief executive Gordon Taylor first announcing one would take place in November of that year.

On Wednesday the Charity Commission said it had opened a statutory inquiry over “serious concerns” about how the PFA charity was being run by its trustees, one of whom is Taylor.

Purkiss said on Twitter: “The statement from the Charity Commission underlines the seriousness of the investigation into the PFA charity and I will await their full report before making any further comment.

“Meanwhile, I would expect the independent review currently being undertaken by Sport Resolutions on behalf of the union to continue on its course with the full co-operation of everybody concerned.”

Purkiss and Taylor have said they will stand down, along with the rest of the PFA management committee, once the independent review is complete. There is no clear indication of when that might be.

The Charity Commission inquiry will focus on the charity’s relationship and transactions with other bodies and whether they are in the best interests of the charity, and whether its activities have been exclusively charitable and for the public benefit.

Gordon Taylor has said he will stand down once an independent review into the PFA is complete (Steven Paston/PA)

It will also look at whether there has been any “unauthorised trustee benefit” and “whether or not the trustees have complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities under charity law”.

The PFA said in a statement: “The trustees have continued to co-operate fully, openly and transparently with the Charity Commission and will continue to do so throughout this process.

“The Professional Footballers’ Association Charity Trustees are all committed to adopting the highest possible standards in administering, governing and the management of the charity and will continue to work with the Charity Commission.”

Former England manager Sam Allardyce defended Taylor, who has been criticised over a variety of issues including his salary package of over £2m a year and a perceived failure to move quickly enough on research into whether footballers are at greater risk of developing neurodegenerative disease than the general population.

“People are talking about him needing to go before the inquiry has even been completed,” Allardyce told talkSPORT.

“People are adamant that they want to move Gordon on because he’s been there on a massive salary. There’s always been a huge amount of jealousy about that.

“As long as I’ve known him he’s always been honest and done what I consider to be an absolutely outstanding job for the PFA.

“Time will tell and we shouldn’t bear judgement as quickly as we’re bearing it. People are trying to hoist him before the facts are there. The man has dedicated his whole life to the PFA.

“One thing I would say is this – who takes over from Gordon Taylor? Who is clever enough and who has got the intelligence and who is good enough to know as much as Gordon knows, to be able to cope with that position? It’s a massive, massive position.”