Gordon Taylor has been followed by PFA chairman Ben Purkiss and the entire management committee in agreeing to stand down at today’s AGM.

The crisis-hit players’ union held an annual meeting that was postponed in November in Manchester today.

As Sportsmail revealed on Tuesday, Taylor was expected to stand down after 38 years in charge after a power struggle with Purkiss – and a series of damaging revelations by the Daily Mail – sparked an investigation by the Charity Commission and forced Taylor to bow to pressure from Purkiss to agree to an independent review. 

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor pictured arriving at the players' union's AGM on Wednesday

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor pictured arriving at the players' union's AGM on Wednesday

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor pictured arriving at the players’ union’s AGM on Wednesday

Taylor has faced strong calls since November to leave his position after 38 years in the job

Taylor has faced strong calls since November to leave his position after 38 years in the job

Taylor has faced strong calls since November to leave his position after 38 years in the job

PFA chairman Ben Purkiss has followed Taylor in leaving the fractured players' union

PFA chairman Ben Purkiss has followed Taylor in leaving the fractured players' union

PFA chairman Ben Purkiss has followed Taylor in leaving the fractured players’ union

Last month Taylor said he had recommended to the management committee that Sports Resolutions conduct the review.

In a statement released this afternoon, Taylor said: ‘The end of 2018 was an extremely difficult period for the hardworking, excellent staff of the PFA. Many of the attacks levelled at our organisation and its leadership through the media were both unfounded and unfair.

‘It is true that, at times last year, members of the Management Committee did not see eye-to-eye on a number of issues but, following a series of meetings over the last few months, we are now united on the best way forward for the organisation.

‘Today, members of the PFA have agreed that I should remain as Chief Executive throughout the period of the review to provide the necessary stability for our organisation and members.

‘Following the review and the appointment of a new CEO, the current Chairman and Management Committee have agreed it is right for them to step down as well.

‘I have given the majority of my life to the advancement of the PFA and I hope I have provided a platform for our continued success in the future.

‘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.’

Purkiss and the entire management committee have also agreed to follow Taylor in a move designed to give the PFA a fresh start after months of political in-fighting.

According to the PFA’s website, the management committee is made up of England women’s captain Steph Houghton, Jonathan Walters, Asmir Begovic, Tom Heaton, Lee Grant, Matthew Bloomfield, John Mousinho, Peter Vincenti, Andrew Butler, Matthew Sadler, Andy Taylor and Peter Clarke.

Taylor will leave behind a job that pays him £2.3million a year after 38 years' of service

Taylor will leave behind a job that pays him £2.3million a year after 38 years' of service

Taylor will leave behind a job that pays him £2.3million a year after 38 years’ of service

Purkiss said on Wednesday: ‘Last year I stated that the PFA needs to evolve otherwise there is a risk we get left behind. As Chairman of the PFA, I said publicly that we needed to review the governance of the organisation, and I welcome the fact that an independent review will now take place.

‘While I am an advocate for change, it was never my intention to be critical of the organisation. There is so much about the PFA of which we can rightly be proud, and I want to acknowledge the staff at the PFA who work tirelessly to support members across so many different areas.

‘To ensure a smooth transition to new leadership at the conclusion of the review, it is important that the current Management Committee remains in place. This continuity of leadership will enable us to oversee the consideration and implementation of any recommendations Sport Resolutions make, and provide the stability needed to continue delivering for our members.

‘I am grateful for all the support we’ve received as an organisation.’

Taylor has faced calls to resign, not least from hundreds of current and former professional players, after a series of revelations by this newspaper led to the Charity Commission launching an investigation into the PFA.

Last month, Taylor did confirm that the PFA board of trustees and the management committee had appointed the independent arbitrators at Sport Resolutions to conduct the review that had been called for by Purkiss.

It is a review that, given the issues raised initially by Purkiss and uncovered by Sportsmail’s investigation, is sure to leave the position of 74-year-old Taylor untenable. Indeed it will be interesting to see if some of his main allies within the PFA can also survive given the widespread concerns, not least when he has come to an understanding of the regulations that are supposed to govern them. 

GORDON TAYLOR PFA LETTER 

Dear Members,

At an AGM today, Members of the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) have agreed a continuity plan that will provide the organisation with stability through its upcoming independent review process.

As I’m sure you know, in February, Sport Resolutions was formally instructed to begin a review of the governance, management, and policies, procedures and operations of the PFA. This afternoon I, and the rest of the Management Committee, set out proposals which will ensure smooth management of the organisation throughout the period of the review. These proposals, which can be found below, have been approved by members.

The Management Committee and I have called this review to make sure that the PFA operates to the highest standards and in the best interests of you, our members.

Like all organisations, as we have grown we have faced new challenges. The PFA has only succeeded by constantly evolving over the last 40 years, and it is up to me and the Management Committee to ensure that we continue to rise to the challenges before us.

While there will sometimes be a difference in opinion about the direction of the union, we have always been united behind our common goal of maintaining the PFA as the pre-eminent sports union in the world.

Since I joined the PFA 40 years ago, we have grown from a staff of just 6 people, to a team of over ten times that number working across the whole of England, Wales and internationally. The excellent team is focussed on tackling the most important issues in the game such as mental health, retraining, player welfare, discrimination and, above all, contractual strength and the future of the game.

I am extremely proud of the work we are doing and the direction we are going in. The organisation is in good health, and our recent deal with the Premier League will ensure we can continue to do more for all our members on the issues that matter the most.

I always gave my best for the teams I played for and 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.

We have come far, but I also know that we can never be complacent and must strive to be at the cutting edge for the good of our members and the good of the game. I will continue to fight for the organisation, its members and our role in the sport – both in this country and worldwide.

I’m proud of what we have built together by constantly looking to the future, and excited for the next phase of the PFA’s growth.

I have given the majority of my life to the advancement of the PFA and I hope I have provided a platform for our continued success in the future.

Best wishes,

Gordon Taylor OBE 

Taylor's reign as chief executive has been blighted with a number of public mishaps

Taylor's reign as chief executive has been blighted with a number of public mishaps

Taylor’s reign as chief executive has been blighted with a number of public mishaps

Taylor pictured with England boss Gareth Southgate and outgoing PFA chairman Purkiss

Taylor pictured with England boss Gareth Southgate and outgoing PFA chairman Purkiss

Taylor pictured with England boss Gareth Southgate and outgoing PFA chairman Purkiss

TAYLOR’S SWOLLEN PFA PAY PACKAGE 

Overall pay package: £2.29million (£44,000 a week)

Basic salary: £1.2m

2018 bonus: £777,000

Car allowance: £44,516

Private medical insurance: £6,870

Telephone allowance: £3,000

 

It was in November that Sportsmail first reported that civil war had broken out at the PFA.

Purkiss was forced to go public, giving an explosive interview to this newspaper after Taylor had informed the 92 PFA club delegates that the AGM had been adjourned because an issue had arisen with the eligibility of Purkiss to remain in his post.

But Purkiss not only had the backing of key members of the PFA management committee but soon found he had support from some of the biggest names in the game as more than 300 current and ex-pros united in backing the 34-year-old in his call for change.

A law graduate as well as a journeyman professional, Purkiss displayed immense courage in taking on one of the most powerful figures in sport. He complained that, for all the tens of millions sitting in the PFA bank accounts, the union had spent just £125,000 on funding head injury research via a contribution to Football’s Influence on Lifelong Health and Dementia Risk.

After speaking to Sportsmail he said: ‘I have a duty to act in the best interests of the PFA. Sometimes you have to make a stand for what is right.

PFA STATEMENTS 

GORDON TAYLOR

‘The end of 2018 was an extremely difficult period for the hardworking, excellent staff of the PFA. Many of the attacks levelled at our organisation and its leadership through the media were both unfounded and unfair.

‘It is true that, at times last year, members of the Management Committee did not see eye-to-eye on a number of issues but, following a series of meetings over the last few months, we are now united on the best way forward for the organisation.

‘Today, members of the PFA have agreed that I should remain as Chief Executive throughout the period of the review to provide the necessary stability for our organisation and members.

‘Following the review and the appointment of a new CEO, the current Chairman and Management Committee have agreed it is right for them to step down as well.

‘I have given the majority of my life to the advancement of the PFA and I hope I have provided a platform for our continued success in the future.

‘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.’

BEN PURKISS

‘Last year I stated that the PFA needs to evolve otherwise there is a risk we get left behind. As Chairman of the PFA, I said publicly that we needed to review the governance of the organisation, and I welcome the fact that an independent review will now take place.

‘While I am an advocate for change, it was never my intention to be critical of the organisation. There is so much about the PFA of which we can rightly be proud, and I want to acknowledge the staff at the PFA who work tirelessly to support members across so many different areas.

‘To ensure a smooth transition to new leadership at the conclusion of the review, it is important that the current Management Committee remains in place. This continuity of leadership will enable us to oversee the consideration and implementation of any recommendations Sport Resolutions make, and provide the stability needed to continue delivering for our members.

‘I am grateful for all the support we’ve received as an organisation.’

Tom Heaton, Member of the PFA Management Committee:

‘Gordon has given over half his life to the PFA, and we are all agreed that he has done an amazing job growing the organisation.

‘When he goes, he will undoubtedly be dearly missed by members and staff alike, but I am confident the review will ensure we have the right structures in place to ensure the PFA lives on for another 100 years.’

Steph Houghton, Member of the PFA Management Committee:

‘It was difficult to read some of the coverage of the PFA last year. The organisation plays a vital role for many footballers in both the men’s and the women’s game and it’s essential that the PFA continues to fight on issues such as strength of contract and preparing for life after football.

‘I am pleased that we have agreed to the independent review and I’m confident that the organisation will continue to go from strength to strength. Going forward, it’s important that we are united behind Gordon’s leadership of the PFA and continue to do what’s best for our members.’

John Mousinho, Member of the PFA Management Committee:

‘I am delighted that we have instructed Sport Resolutions to conduct an independent review. It is a positive move for the organisation and one that will only benefit the PFA and its members. The Management Committee has worked hard to ensure that we have the right plan in place, and we will continue to fight to represent the best interests of all players.’

Asmir Begović, Member of the PFA Management Committee:

‘I am very pleased with this positive move by the PFA to instruct an independent review. I believe this will lead to a very strong union going forward for its members.’ 

Taylor had faced calls to resign, not least from hundreds of current and former players

Taylor had faced calls to resign, not least from hundreds of current and former players

Taylor had faced calls to resign, not least from hundreds of current and former players

‘Football is rapidly evolving, players are rapidly evolving and the PFA needs to evolve too. Players past, present and future need a PFA for the modern player.’

Taylor had looked at exploiting the fact that Purkiss had become a non-contract player at Walsall because of a serious neck injury, with lawyers representing the union stating that the situation precluded him from remaining as chairman.

Purkiss, however, was able to point to the fact that, not only did he remain a registered professional, historically the PFA had allowed such players to remain members. 

In fact only two weeks after Taylor challenged Purkiss’s position, Newport manager Michael Flynn was retained as a member despite becoming a non-contract player, while the PFA listed non-contract players as members in its 2017 AGM literature.

In a response to club delegates Purkiss said: ‘Against the wishes of the management committee — who are your representatives — Gordon then decided I could not be a member and I am yet to receive an explanation as to why.’

But what really weakened Taylor’s position were the revelations that followed, the majority of them on these pages.

PFA had to postpone a previous AGM amid a power struggle between Taylor and Purkiss (R)

PFA had to postpone a previous AGM amid a power struggle between Taylor and Purkiss (R)

PFA had to postpone a previous AGM amid a power struggle between Taylor and Purkiss (R)

Sportsmail was first to report how the PFA could be in breach of trade union rules because Taylor had somehow avoided having to stand for re-election in almost four decades at the helm when the regulations demand an election every five years. 

Indeed responses from PFA trustee Garth Crooks to our questions exposed an alarming lack of knowledge of trade union legislation. Crooks claimed that, as chief executive, Taylor did not need to stand for re-election even though trade union regulations suggested otherwise.

The scrutiny intensified. Concerns were raised by former players about financial advice they had received, in some cases potentially ruinous, from the PFA’s own financial arm.

While Sportsmail revealed that the union appeared to be in breach of Charity Commission rules when it emerged Paul Elliott had been allowed to remain a trustee when he had an IVA (an individual voluntary arrangement). 

Garth Crooks claimed that, as chief executive, Taylor did not need to stand for re-election

Garth Crooks claimed that, as chief executive, Taylor did not need to stand for re-election

Garth Crooks claimed that, as chief executive, Taylor did not need to stand for re-election

Elliott later resigned, with PFA company accounts stating his position as a trustee had been ‘terminated’. A much-respected figure in football, Elliott explained in a statement that he had been ‘a victim of financial fraud’.

By then the Charity Commission had already responded to reports of political upheaval, and concerns about the management of finances at the union, by confirming they had opened a regulatory compliance case into the PFA Charity. 

The PFA charity accounts showed staff costs of nearly £3.8million for charity activities but elsewhere it says: ‘The charity does not have any employees and therefore no salaries or wages have been paid during the year.’

A spokesperson for the Charity Commission said: ‘The public rightly expect charities to live their values, acting at all times to maximise their positive impact on beneficiaries. 

We have opened a regulatory compliance case into the Professional Footballers’ Association Charity to examine concerns about the governance arrangements and to clarify a number of issues relating to the charity’s financial arrangements and accounts.’ 

Late last year, an open letter calling on Taylor to walk away from his position was signed by 200 current and former professional players. 

Sportsmail columnist Chris Sutton, Ian Wright and Robbie Savage were among the ones to sign the letter. 

There have been others, though, who have publicly supported Taylor.

Harry Redknapp, Sam Allardyce and David Seaman are just three former players to have stuck up for Taylor.

Redknapp said he had always been able to rely on Taylor whenever he had a query or a problem.

Taylor has received plenty of criticism but there are some who have stuck by the chief exec

Taylor has received plenty of criticism but there are some who have stuck by the chief exec

Taylor has received plenty of criticism but there are some who have stuck by the chief exec 

‘I’ve never had to use them [PFA] an awful lot, but whenever I have called Gordon he has always been the same, he’s always come up trumps for me,’ Redknapp told talkSPORT.

‘In fact, a boy who used to play for me is struggling, he’s got a big health problem and he’s been on a waiting list for two years to get an operation, and I rang Gordon personally and asked if he could help.

‘He came back, he got straight on to the lad and he’s arranged for him to get the treatment he needs.

‘One of my old coaches also needed help a few years ago, and he’s always got on the case and done it for me, so I can’t say anything bad about him whatsoever.

‘You can only take people in life as you find them. Everyone has different opinions about people, but my opinion of Gordon when I dealt with him is he’s been top class.’  

Former England manager Allardyce added that Taylor had ‘never shirked his responsibility’ while Seaman said: ‘Whenever I’ve had dealings with the PFA or Gordon, he’s just been brilliant.’