Stars unhappy with PFA's panel hired to appoint Taylor's successor

Premier League stars unhappy with PFA’s four-person panel hired to appoint Gordon Taylor’s successor as chief executive with fears over lack of footballing expertise

  • Gordon Taylor will step down from role as chief executive after 39 years at PFA
  • A four-person selection panel has been appointed to pick Taylor’s successor
  • The PFA chose a racially diverse and gender-balanced selection panel
  • But out of four-person panel, only one has any experience in football industry 

Premier League stars are unhappy with the four-person selection panel appointed to pick a successor to PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor, amid concerns it lacks footballing expertise.

The PFA reacted to players’ demands, revealed in Sportsmail, by choosing a racially diverse and gender-balanced selection panel.

But of the four independent non-executive directors appointed earlier this week, only one has any experience of the industry — Women in Football chair Ebru Koksal. 

Gordon Taylor is to step down as PFA chief executive at the end of the current campaign

Ebru Koksal is the only one on the four-person panel to have any experience of the industry

The panel is completed by TikTok marketing chief Trevor Johnson, Amazon managing director Darren Hardman and former karate world champion Geoff Thompson — none of whom have worked in football, leading to concerns that players’ views will not be represented. 

Sportsmail has learned that 17 former players made the shortlist for the roles, but none of them were selected by the three-man selection committee chaired by Gary Neville.

Players have expressed concern at the make-up of the panel and the potential implications for their choice of a replacement for Taylor, who will finally step down at the end of this season.

Former Manchester United right back Gary Neville chaired the three-man selection committee

During the latter stages of the 75-year-old’s extraordinary 39-year reign at the PFA, a major disconnect has developed between the union and its members, which the current generation of increasingly engaged players — represented by the likes of Raheem Sterling and Nikita Parris — want to see bridged.

Some fear that the four well-respected executives chosen do not represent them, and they are lobbying for guarantees that the new chief executive will be a former player who can empathise with their members.

Football’s Black Coalition, a new pressure group formed earlier this year to represent leading black coaches and players, are understood to have pointed out that while the panel is racially diverse, it contains no one able to empower and relate to the 1,300 black players in the PFA, who account for more than one-third of the membership.

Raheem Sterling wants to see the disconnect between the PFA and its members bridged

In contrast, women players are represented by Koksal, a former general secretary of the Turkish FA, despite the fact the PFA has only 150 female members.

The four independent directors were selected by a separate panel, comprising former England international Neville, Oxford defender John Mousinho and lawyer Edward Canty, who have been made aware of the players’ concerns.

The panel took the view, however, that as the main decision-making body of the reformed PFA will be a newly-constituted Players Board, including two players from each of the four divisions and two who have retired, it was important to give them expert support from the world of business.

A chief executive is expected to be appointed by April.

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