Steven Ugarkovic’s long-range strike on March 23 this year remains one of the final, memorable actions as the curtain came down abruptly on the A-League season, 116 days ago. Since then, the game has endured one of most challenging periods in its history, during a near four-month hiatus and the players have demonstrated their deep commitment to the profession.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has had a profound impact on our game, our players and the world. It’s forced us to reflect on our lives, our way of life, our impact on the world and each other.

It’s made us all reflect on our social responsibility, to better understand that we’re all connected and all responsible for each other. And to ask what we can do better as people, as an organisation, as a game.

Football, like all sport, is about inclusion and we’ve been deeply inspired by social movements such as #BLM and #IndigenousLivesMatter, particularly the incredibly strong role that athletes and sporting bodies have played in encouraging and embedding real social change across the world.

While we celebrate the feats of refugees Awer Mabil and Thomas Deng, or Indigenous stars Lydia Williams and Kyah Simon, we’re also thinking of those who never had the chance to play; who were unable to experience the joy of football as we were, through the entrenched disadvantage, systemic racism and discrimination that the world, and the world of sport, is finally confronting.

Football has taken many steps, but we are committed to challenging ourselves to learn more, to listening to our own minority voices, whether Indigenous, black and refugee and to helping shape a PFA, game, and a world in which all are equal.

Football has been missed by us all, and it returns in a world that only accentuates its importance as a vehicle for the best of human nature. For this reason, equality, in all its forms, is central to the mission of the PFA.

Best wishes to all our members, and the game’s fans. And here’s to a better world.

Beau Busch and Kathryn Gill

PFA Co-Chief Executives