Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) committed to playing a leading role in a global effort to build awareness of the importance of player development after the UNI World Athletes and Australian Athletes Alliance (AAA) Player Development Conference highlights the short-term and precarious nature of professional sport around the world.

Aimed at establishing best practice, areas of common concern and guidelines for the operation of Player Development programs the two-day conference was attended by over 40 Player Development Managers from seven different nations.

In conjunction with the PFA and FIFPro Asia the conference was hosted by:

  • Australian Football League Players’ Association (AFLPA);
  • Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA);
  • Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA); and
  • New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association (NZRPA).

With four of PFA’s Player Development Managers having participated, PFA National Manager, Player Development Ben Robertson hailed the conference as an enormous success.

“Opportunities to exchange ideas and to build relationships with people working in player development all over the world are rare and it was a fantastic opportunity to gain an insight into the challenges some face and the successes many have enjoyed,” said Robertson.

“What become clear across all sports is just how precarious and uncertain a career in professional sport is. In such an environment it is vital that athletes are given every opportunity and encouragement to develop as people. Throughout the two days it became clear that the sports that understand this have benefited hugely from doing so.

“With the PFA’s members plying their trade all over the world it’s vital that the PFA plays a significant role in the global effort to elevate player development as this goes to the very heart of ensuring the wellbeing of our members and of the game.

“The task now is to report back to the UNI World Athletes Executive Committee, which includes Paul Marsh, AFLPFA Chief Executive, Rob Nichol, International Rugby Players’ Association Chief Executive, and Brendan Schwab, FIFPro Vice President, AAA General Secretary and Special Counsel for the PFA.

“The report will play a key role in UNI World Athletes’ pursuit of a global agreement on player development, which is essential if we are to address many of the issues that came out of the conference.

“Finally I would like to thank everyone who attended the conference and make a special mention of the efforts of the ACA, AFLPA, RUPA and the NZRPA in making this event possible.”

For media enquiries contact PFA Media and Communications Manager Beau Busch on +61 (0) 432763485 or via

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