The Australian Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) today announced the inauguration of the PFA Footballer of the Year Award and the PFA Harry Kewell Medal, which will be awarded to Australia’s best young footballer.

The PFA Awards will uniquely recognise Australia’s most outstanding professional footballer by:

  • being open to players plying their trade at home and abroad, including in the world’s best leagues such as the English Premier League and the Italian Serie A as well as in Australia’s own Hyundai A-League;
  • taking into account performances for both club and country; and
  • being exclusively voted for by the judge the professional footballer values most highly – his peer.

Eligibility for the PFA Awards is limited to any Australian eligible to play for the Socceroos, as well as foreign players playing in the A-League.  The young player award will be open to all players up to the age of 23 in line with eligibility to play in the Olympic Football Tournament.  The 350 Australians who ply their trade will be asked to vote from among the players nominated by the PFA Awards Committee, which consists of some of Australia’s greatest recently retired players and leading media analysts.

PFA Chief Executive Brendan Schwab said the PFA Awards will be highly sought after by the players.

“We have many brilliant players, both at home and abroad” Schwab said.  “The PFA Awards acknowledge this and will be the first time all Australian professional footballers will be able to formally recognise their most outstanding peer.  From a player’s point of view, the PFA Awards will perfectly complement the A-League’s Johnny Warren Medal, which will remain an icon for all A-League players.”

Socceroos and Galatasaray star Harry Kewell, until recently a long serving member of the PFA Executive, welcomed the PFA’s move.

“Whenever I take the field, either for the Socceroos or my club, I am representing my country,” Kewell said.  “The PFA Awards recognise this common bond all Australians share as we ply our trade around the world.”

“I am also deeply honoured to have the PFA Young Footballer of the Year Award named in honour of me.  Australia’s footballing future depends on the continued development of outstanding young players, and I hope this award will provide another incentive for young players to aspire to excel at the game’s highest levels.”

“As Australia grows as a football nation, I am confident the PFA Awards will grow in status to be mentioned in the same breath as the prestigious awards conducted by other players’ associations around the world, most famously the English PFA.”

“Being judged by the players you play against is the common link that gives these awards such status with the fans and importance with the players,” Kewell added.