Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) has announced the appointment of PFA Life Member and FIFPRO Board Member Francis Awaritefe as Chair.
Awaritefe replaces Brendan Schwab, who has stepped down due to the demands of his position as Executive Director of the World Players Association, the Swiss-based global players’ union.
“It is essential that the incredible sacrifice, commitment and quality football demonstrated by the players in completing the 2019/20 A-League season despite Covid-19 is recognised in the new CBA,” Awaritefe said.
“It is time to rebuild and reboot the professional game in Australia, which requires vision, trust, knowledge and courage. The PFA has always been a player-led organisation that demonstrates these values and I plan to ensure that this remains so.”
PFA President Alex Wilkinson, who has served alongside Awaritefe on the PFA Executive since March 2018, welcomed Awaritefe's appointment.
“Francis has been a central figure within the PFA’s history, a fearless leader and tireless advocate for the players,” Wilkinson said.
“As a former player he has a deep understanding of the players’ position within the game and as a FIFPRO Vice President and board member contributes significant global expertise to our organisation. We welcome Francis’ appointment and thank Brendan for his incredible contribution to the players during his past four years as Chair.”
Schwab, the PFA co-founder, has served two terms as Chair – between 2005-2006 and 2016-2020 – and completes 25 years of involvement with the PFA.
“Given my commitment to Australian football, it is disappointing to be stepping down at a time when the game faces so many profound challenges and the players in the professional leagues are without the protection of a CBA,” Schwab said.
“I am confident that under the leadership of Alex, Francis, and PFA Co-Chief Executives Kathryn Gill and Beau Busch, the players will be able to negotiate new CBAs on a win-win basis to carry the game forward. After all, CBAs have been in place for all but three years since the first CBA was negotiated in 1996. Those three years were the first three of the A-League with the impasse finally being resolved through a five-year deal based on long-term thinking and unflinching solidarity among the players in Australia’s national teams and professional leagues.”
Awaritefe has been appointed until the PFA’s next Annual General Meeting.