Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) co-founder, Champion, former Chief Executive and Chair Brendan Schwab has today been inducted into the Football Australia (FA) Hall of Fame.

An architect of the global and Australian player association movements as a co-founder of the World Players Association (WPA), FIFPRO Asia / Oceania, the Australian Athletes’ Alliance, and the PFA, Schwab has played an instrumental role in the transformation of Australian football over the last two decades.

Throughout a 30-year career, Schwab has represented and worked with multiple teams and athletes in several sports, including the Socceroos and Matildas and players in the National Soccer League and A-Leagues.

Schwab helped organise the players to deeply understand that the wellbeing of the game was a precondition not only to their own wellbeing but to tapping the game’s enormous potential in Australia. This meant the players became central drivers of key football industry reforms, including the creation of a new governing body (Football Federation Australia), a new men’s professional league (the A-League), establishing engagement with Asia and football’s commitment to universal principles such as gender equality.

Now the Executive Director of the Swiss-based WPA, Schwab helped establish the PFA in 1993 and oversaw the progression of the players’ union and the growth of Australian football for over two decades.

A respected strategist and formidable negotiator with a deep commitment to Australian football, Schwab said his induction really belongs to the thousands of players who have made the PFA indispensable to building the game and a vital support for players as they pursue their careers and development as people.

“It is a great honour to accept induction into the Football Australia Hall of Fame,” Schwab said. “I do so not as an individual – but on behalf of the generations of Australia’s professional footballers who have united through their union – the PFA – to shape the future of the game in this country profoundly for the better.

“If this honour says anything, it is perhaps some recognition on the part of the game as a whole that the work of the players, through their union, has unquestionably been in the best interests of the game.”

Over the past five years, Schwab has helped pioneer global sport and human rights movements, by negotiating major human rights commitments with international governing bodies including FIFA.

Current PFA President, Sydney FC captain Alex Wilkinson, paid tribute to Schwab’s contribution to Australian football and in particular, his tireless commitment to Australia’s professional players.

“Brendan’s contribution to generations of Australian footballers has been absolutely immense. By establishing the PFA and by working for players for so long, Brendan has had a great impact on countless players’ lives. 

“By advocating for their rights, their work conditions and their security of employment, the players of today would have nowhere near the conditions they have without Brendan’s work.”

Earlier this year, PFA Co-Chief Executive Kathryn Gill was inducted into the Football Australia Hall of Fame. A former AFC Women’s Player of the Year, Matildas captain and long-serving member of the PFA Matildas Committee, Gill became the first woman to be appointed to the PFA Executive Committee.

Since the initial induction of 84 players and participants in 1999, more than 250 male and female players, coaches, referees, administrators, and media representatives have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to Australian football through their induction in the FA Hall of Fame.