Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) is pleased to announce the appointment of PFA co-founder and Special Counsel Brendan Schwab as the new Head of UNI World Athletes.

UNI World Athletes brings together professional athletes’ organisations from major sports including football, cricket, rugby union, ice hockey, baseball, American football, basketball, rugby league, netball, cycling and Australian football.

Schwab will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of UNI World Athletes (previously UNI Sports Pro) after serving as its first Vice President. After 25 years representing elite athletes in Australia and around the world as a key contributor to FIFPro, the world players’ association, the PFA Life Member will bring a combination of expertise in organising, labour law, collective bargaining and dispute resolution, particularly in professional team sports to his new role.

UNI Global Union General Secretary, Philip Jennings, said “Brendan Schwab is a pioneer with a proven track record in ensuring that the values of decent work are applied to sport. With his experience UNI World Athletes will continue to Break Through in organising and representing sports organisations and their members around the world.

“Brendan brings with him a first class pedigree from the world of Australian sports and we know he will be a strong advocate for the athletes’ voice to be heard globally. He will also bring valuable insight into the pressing need to improve the governance of sport and provide leadership on how to clean it up.”

The FIFPro Vice President is a co-founder of the Australian Athletes’ Alliance (AAA), which represents eight player unions and over 3,500 athletes in sports such as Australian football (AFL), basketball, rugby union, rugby league, cricket, netball, horse racing (jockeys) and football. He helped establish the PFA serving as Chief Executive and General Counsel while advancing its progression and the reform of Australian Football during the past 20 years.

On a global level, Schwab has played an instrumental role for FIFPro in protecting the rights of professional footballers in Asia and Oceania. He currently represents FIFPro, the world footballers’ association, as a board member and Vice President.

Schwab said, “This is an exciting opportunity to help position the world’s professional athletes at the global level by having them heard with one collective voice.

“The collective knowledge base and experience of our member associations is immense. All have a great track record in advancing the wellbeing of both their athletes and their sports. As sport becomes truly global, it is natural and, indeed, essential that its major decisions are made in partnership with the athletes.”

PFA Chief Executive Adam Vivian said Schwab was certain to be an outstanding appointment for UNI World Athletes and was pleased that he would continue his involvement was the PFA.

“On behalf of all our members I would like congratulate Brendan on his new role,” said Vivian. “Over the past 22 years he has worked tirelessly in promoting and safeguarding the rights of the nation’s footballers and his impact on the game has been truly profound.

“Our members are extremely fortunate that Brendan will continue to assist in the PFA’s pursuit of a ‘whole of game’ collective bargaining agreement with Football Federation Australia to cover all A-League, Matildas and Socceroos players.

“Brendan’s appointment as the Head of UNI World Athletes further strengthens the global reach of the PFA and will ensure that the voice of our members will be heard at the very highest levels of sport.”

UNI World Athletes President Don Fehr (Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players Association) said, “UNI World Athletes needs an executive of proven experience and dedication.  We are thrilled that Brendan has agreed to come on board.  He brings both obvious talent and long experience to our efforts, having represented and advocated for athletes from many countries for decades.  He will be integral to our success in the years to come.”

UNI Global Union, based in Nyon, Switzerland, represents more than 20 million workers from over 900 trade unions in the fastest growing sectors in the world – skills and services, including media and sport. UNI and its affiliates in all regions are driven by the responsibility to ensure jobs are decent and workers’ rights are protected, including the right to join a union and collective bargaining.