Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) has continued to ensure the rights of its overseas members are upheld.

Having handled over 89 overseas cases this financial year, of which 22 are pending with the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC), the PFA was successful in safeguarding the rights of Joel Griffiths following a dispute with Shanghai Shenhua.

Following the club’s failure to honour its contractual obligations to Griffiths, the PFA pursued the matter through the FIFA DRC and the PFA’s case was upheld.

With overseas matters currently accounting for approximately 60% of the PFA’s open individual cases, Griffiths said the PFA’s support and expertise throughout had been invaluable.

“Throughout the case the PFA staff were unbelievable,” said Griffiths. “As a player this type of situation is extremely difficult to cope with and it was hugely reassuring to have the support of the PFA and to know my case was in the best possible hands.

“Had I not had the support of the PFA it would have been near impossible to get what I was owed. This just shows how important the PFA is and why as players we are stronger together.”

PFA General Counsel Angela Collins said the matter further highlighted the importance of players accessing services prior to signing agreements with clubs and agents, both at home and abroad.

“An unfortunate reality of football is that players often encounter issues abroad regarding clubs not honouring their obligations,” said Collins. “A significant amount of the PFA’s legal and advocacy work is devoted to overseas matters, which are often complex and take an extended period of time to be resolved.

“It is vital that players have their contracts reviewed before entering into them. Whilst this may not prevent situations like the one Joel found himself in, it can dramatically enhance the PFA’s prospects of successfully enforcing their contracts.”

On a broader level, PFA Chairman Craig Foster says the advocacy work assists Australian football to ensure our elite talent is protected and spend the maximum amount of time on the playing field developing as high quality international players.

“For our game to prosper and with a relatively small player pool from which to draw, every player, male or female, is critical to our international competitiveness and needs to be supported, properly advised and protected to have the maximal conditions for success,” said Foster. “Players change clubs for a variety of reasons, but ensuring they do so as smoothly as possible means minimal career disruption, greater consistency in infield appearances and optimal career development.

‘The players already know the PFA is there to protect them, however the game also needs to understand the powerful impact these cases have on our international future.”


PFA Member Legal and Advocacy Services:

  • Contract review
  • Contract enforcement
  • Overseas advice and representation
  • Agent disputes
  • Collective grievances
  • Collective Bargaining Agreement enforcement

For more information on PFA Membership contact PFA Player Relations Manager Simon Colosimo via