Bailey Wright was among the attendees at last week’s 2024 FIFPRO Division Asia/Oceania general assembly in Singapore, where he spoke about the importance of the players’ voice in growing the game. 

For much of Bailey Wright’s career, the Socceroo has dedicated his effort to not only achieving on the pitch but making a difference off it. 

During his 13-year spell in England, Wright, who was born in Melbourne, received awards at Preston North End, Bristol City and Sunderland for the role he played with club charities and in the community. That included winning the PFA Community Champion Award back-to-back, in recognition of his ongoing support for Sunderland’s Foundation of Light.  

“As a footballer, you always have a responsibility, regardless of what you do, to leave the place or world in a better place, if you can,” Wright told last year. 

Through his representative role with PFA in Australia, Wright has also served his fellow professionals on the Socceroos’ Committee, through which he played a critical role in securing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement for the Socceroos and Matildas, which will help drive the growth of Australian football across the next four years. 

Now based in Singapore, Wright wants to continue to deliver impact – this time by helping the growth of Asian football. After arriving at Lion City Sailors in July last year, Wright shared his voice in discussions about the strategic direction of football, through FIFPRO Asia/Oceania Division.  

The Socceroo attended the second day of the Division’s General Assembly in Singapore, alongside teammates and players from Albirex Niigata Singapore FC. The session, ‘The Future of Asian Football’, explored trends and insights into the future growth of the game in both Asia and Oceania, delivered by external experts and representatives of the Singapore Football Association and the J-League.  

“If there’s anything that I’ve learned [from the General Assembly], there’s a lot of really skilled, good people that genuinely care about the game and want to improve it,” Wright said. 

“There are discussions on how we can improve, what needs to improve. I think it’s highlighted from a player’s point of view, just how important a player’s voice is in sharing those experiences.  

“Sometimes when you come to things like this, it highlights how important that voice is within football in general, but specifically Asian football, to improve the game, improve the competitions, and keep pushing this great game in the right direction.”  

Wright was one of many attendees at the summit last week, which was an opportunity for all the unions to align on the FIFPRO Asia/Oceania 2023-26 strategic framework, as they look to continue growing the game along with establishing strong partnerships between players, clubs, leagues and the Asian Football Confederation. 

PFA co-CEOs Kate Gill and Beau Busch were among the representatives from 10 FIFPRO member, candidate and observer unions, as well as guest unions, federations and leagues. 

Professional players, which included Wright, Singapore national team captain Hariss Harun and Alibirex Niigata Singapore FC Yojiro Takahagi, Stevia Egbus Mikuni, Kana Kitahara, were all present at the summit. 

“When the opportunity for myself and my family came from the Lion City Sailors, that there was an opportunity to come here and play football in Singapore and represent the club was amazing,” he said. 

“I think Singapore football is growing and I’m sure will continue to grow. It’s important that coming to events like this that you can see and hear from like-minded people that want the game to improve not only in Singapore, but in Asian football. To hear a lot of voices, hear a lot of opinions on where the game is at, where it can improve [and] how it can improve, has been great.”