Long-serving PFA Chief Executive Brendan Schwab will be stepping aside to focus on his work for FIFPro – the world players’ union – in Asia. Schwab’s resignation will take effect on 30 June 2012. He will be retained by the PFA as its legal counsel to lead its upcoming A-League, Socceroos and Matildas collective bargaining negotiations.

PFA President Simon Colosimo said, “Brendan, at various critical stages of the PFA’s history, has arguably contributed more to the wellbeing of the PFA and the players than any other individual.  Not only do the players now enjoy much improved conditions but significantly, the PFA has grown to reflect their modern day needs and is now in a strong financial position.  Brendan has also been a great champion of Australian football with an intense intellect and passion for the game.

“Whilst the PFA is sorry to lose the services of Brendan as Chief Executive, we are delighted that he has agreed to lead our critical collective bargaining negotiations and, through FIFPro, continue to work for the rights of players at the regional and global levels.

“In his work for the PFA and the players, Brendan has upheld our 5 values: respect, intelligence, courage, world class and trust.  For this, the players thank him,” Colosimo added.

Schwab co-founded the PFA in 1993 with former Socceroos including Greg Brown, KimonTaliadoros, Oscar Crino and John Kosmina.  He has twice served as PFA Chief Executive (1995 – 2003 and 2006 – 2012), and acted as PFA Chairman in 2005 and 2006.  He was a member of the 2003 National Soccer League Task Force appointed by Football Federation Australia Chairman Mr Frank Lowy AC, which resulted in the establishment of today’s A-League.

“It has been a great honour to represent Australia’s professional footballers for almost 20 years,” Schwab said.  “In that time, the PFA has played a positive role, not only in representing and supporting players collectively and individually, but in working constructively for the positive reform of the game.”

According to Colosimo, Schwab steps aside “at a time when the PFA has never been stronger:
• the PFA is a highly respected and financially independent stakeholder in Australian and world football;
• all key membership groups – the Socceroos, Matildas and A-League – are protected by long term collective bargaining agreements.  The PFA’s preparations for their renegotiation in 2012/13 are well advanced;
• Australian players throughout the world continue to turn to the PFA for support at times of need.  Around 160 players annually seek individual legal assistance and support where, for example, they have had their contracts unjustly terminated or for assistance in contract negotiations, transfers, image rights or dealings with agents;
• the PFA provides vital services to players off the field with their education and in developing a career away from the game.  The PFA Education Fund supports players in pursuing a wide variety of educational opportunities, and the FFA/PFA My Football Career program ensures every player has access to tailored and independent career advice;
• the PFA is the leading players’ union in Asia and Oceania, and has led the development of FIFPro Asia which now represents players associations in 6 countries including Japan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and New Zealand; and
• the PFA’s work in the community has been ground-breaking.  The PFA Heroes program sees our members deliver an 8 week values based curriculum to children in need by spending a day a week with them in their school.  Such a deep involvement of the part of players to a community program is unprecedented.”

Schwab, the Chairman of FIFPro Asia, will now dedicate more time to developing the voice of professional footballers throughout Asia and Oceania, establishing his own legal and advisory practice as well as supporting the work of all Australian players’ and athletes’ associations in his capacity as General Secretary of the Australian Athletes’ Alliance.

“The two most important things I tried to bring to the PFA were a deep commitment to involving the players in all key decisions and negotiations, and an understanding that the wellbeing of the game is a precondition to the wellbeing of the players,” Schwab said.  “We have worked tirelessly to understand the business of the game as well as the needs of the players.
“At a time when the A-League faces tremendous challenge and the incomes and wellbeing of players are under threat on matters as basic as the security of the contracts they sign, this approach remains essential.

“The PFA today enjoys the unanimous support of our members.  This is in no small part due to the leadership of the PFA Presidents I have been delighted to work under – Greg Brown (1993 – 1995), KimonTaliadoros (1995 – 1999), Alex Tobin (1999 – 2004) and Simon Colosimo (from 2004) – as well as the many greats of the game who have served their fellow professionals on the PFA Executive.  I sincerely thank them for their support and the confidence that have shown in me,” Schwab added.

Schwab’s resignation will take effect on 30 June 2012 subject to the time involved in securing his successor.  The PFA will conduct an international search for his replacement.

Click here for a snapshot of Brendan Schwab’s contributions to the PFA.