Exclusive: PFA Charity reviewing relationship with main union as Gordon Taylor's exit moves closer

The process for appointing a new chief executive has begun but PFA Charity accounts also reveal major structural change is being considered

Accounts revealed Taylor’s annual union remuneration again topped £2 million
Accounts revealed Taylor’s annual union remuneration again topped £2 million  Credit: PA

The charity arm of the Professional Footballers’ Association will review its link with the union as it prepares for life after Gordon Taylor and the organisation’s biggest overhaul in a generation.

The process for appointing a new chief executive has begun following the completion of an independent review by Sport Resolutions and, with an investigation by the Charity Commission also ongoing, the end of Taylor’s 42-year reign as chairman and chief executive is finally in sight.

New non-executive directors are expected to be appointed imminently and they will lead the search for Taylor’s replacement, which could then be confirmed at an annual general meeting later this year.

New PFA Charity accounts have also been circulated and, as well as a breakdown of Taylor’s annual union remuneration, which again topped £2 million including his salary, bonus and benefits, they reveal that major structural change is being considered.

The accounts state that trustees are “in the process of reviewing the Charity’s ongoing arrangements with the Union with a view to determining whether the continued relationship is in the best interests of the Charity”.

As well as Taylor’s pay, it was revealed that the director of finance, Darren Wilson, received £345,516 in salary, bonus and benefits, including pension contributions.

Taylor and Wilson are employees of the union but also Charity trustees alongside Brendon Batson, Garth Crooks, Gareth Griffths, Chris Powell and David Weir. Simon Morgan resigned as a trustee in January.

Page 49 of the accounts states that staff costs totalled £6.27 million, with £5.52 million “paid for by the Charity, as a recharge from the Union”.

Under a section headed “Relationships between the Charity and related parties”, Taylor and Wilson’s status as employees of the union is specifically noted, as are their roles as directors of PFA Enterprises, which is the PFA’s commercial department.

Accounts for PFA Enterprises to June 2019 report that £378,199 is owed to the PFA Charity.

Taylor and Wilson are also trustees of League Football Education, a charity which receives funding from the PFA Charity and delivers “educational initiatives with apprentice footballers”.

The charity accounts also acknowledge an error to June 2018 and how £1.9 million of income to the charity was not registered and instead went to the accident fund. This has now been transferred back.

It is also noted that Griffiths is the director of Pro Sport Wealth Management Ltd, an investment broker that is recommended to current and former players by the PFA. Griffiths is also understood to sit on the union’s three-person business advisory committee,  which decides on salaries for key staff including Taylor and Wilson.

The vast majority of the PFA Charity’s income – £24.75 million in this latest accounting year – comes directly from the Premier League as a donation. Sizeable chunks are paid back to the Premier League to fund youth development and community schemes.

The accounts also revealed that the PFA’s reserves had grown to £63.54 million and that it had heritage assets, including memorabilia, worth £10.77 million.

Taylor became PFA chairman in 1978 and has been chief executive since 1981. Of the six most senior staff, the most recent arrival was 17 years ago.

Wilson has been the director of finance for 18 years, while two of the charity trustees, Batson and Crooks, were respectively deputy chief executive and chairman during the 1980s.

The PFA did not answer specific questions yesterday about the accounts but said that it was “taking forward a number of actions highlighted as part of the independent review process”. It added that “the independent review will play an important role in helping to set the future structure and direction of the PFA”.