The latest instalment of the PFA’s podcast, Footballers’ Voice, is live on your favourite podcasting platform.

The third episode explores three unique and fascinating players stories relating to the PFA’s work in player representation.  

One of the central pillars of the PFA’s work, player representation, is an often overlooked and rarely fully appreciated by Australia’s footballing public.

The PFA has represented hundreds of players in contract dispute resolution, helping many out of challenging personal and career contract situations in countries all over the world.

Between 2016 and 2019, the PFA recovered over $12m in outstanding player wages and have opened over 400 cases on behalf of Aussie players through its representation work on behalf of players.

Now, more than ever before, players are relying on the PFA’s representation and advocacy to navigate the fallout from COVID-19.

In this episode, three footballers share their own stories of turbulent times overseas and how the PFA’s player representation network helped them out of those situations.

Ante Bakmaz, a 28-year-old Australian defender who has been plying his trade in Indonesia for the past two seasons, had to quickly react to the evolving situation in the Southeast Asian country following the spread of coronavirus.

He was hastily encouraged by the PFA to escape the country to avoid being caught up in the looming health crisis.

“I went from, in the morning, having the mentality [that] I was going to stay in Indonesia, to, that night, freaking out,” Bakmaz describes a chaotic 48-hour period where he decided to leave Indonesia on Footballers’ Voice.

“There were not many flights from Jakarta to Sydney. I needed to go as soon as possible…. It probably only hit me in the second or third day in quarantine [back in Australia]… You realise you were willing to accept your fate to stay in Indonesia. And now when I’m looking back on the news in Indonesia, they’re saying that half the population is at risk.”

Former A-League midfielder Brent Griffiths speaks about his challenging contract dispute in Asia. A few years ago, Griffiths made the decision to broaden his footballing horizons, but instead of finding the grass greener, he discovered a toxic situation. In sharing his story he hopes it will help players in the future think twice before singing on the dotted line.

“Where it went wrong was that I had a bad agent; two bad agents that were involved in this situation that I trusted to basically fulfil the contract and that they said was a sure thing,” Griffiths said.

“I’m not naive enough to know that in football in Asia there is no such thing as a sure thing.”

Finally, A-League star Mark Bridge shares the shocking story of his time with Chiangrai United in the Thai Premier League when the club used bully tactics to try to force him to terminate his contract.

“I mean, it happens all over the world in football… [the club] try and make the player leave. And it’s unfortunate. It’s poor form. It’s terrible. It definitely has no place in sport, especially here. But it happens.”

Subscribe and listen to episode 3 of the Footballers’ Voice via SpotifyApple and Google podcasts, or click play below.