Football League and Premier League Community Funds
The PFA have established, in partnership with Premier League and Football League club community schemes, formalised player appearance procedures. This has been co-ordinated to enhance and promote community activities, increase participation and highlight the impact generated through structured player support.
Premier League and Football League club community schemes now adhere to established formal procedures:
- Agree a mechanism for player requests
- Agree a point of contact
- Chairman/Manager approval
- Player Appearance Request Forms with agreed notice period
- Players always accompanied at events
- Players always briefed on the nature of event
- Provide accurate audit of player appearances
- Annual Review/Statistical analysis for the PFA Evaluation and Premier League Overview
- The Club will use its reasonable endeavours to ensure player appearances for Community Project activity
To ensure that this procedure is instigated to the highest standard, the PFA has identified a number of ‘best practice’ scenarios, which club community schemes may find helpful:
- Adopt a rota system
- Ensure senior squad player appearances
- Agree to a Community Player of the Season Award scheme
- Profile players to attend specific ‘themed’ events based on their interests
- Establish Player Appearance Committee
- Agree for scholars/apprentices to accompany players
- Create player ambassadors/patrons
- Involve former players
- Produce player involvement portfolio
Agree a mechanism for player requests
This area will differ greatly from club to club as it is very much based on internal resources at the club. At the top level of operation a club may have a working group made up of 4 or 5 departments who would throughout the year all require player visits at some stage. This group would be co-ordinated by the clubs Player Liaison Officer who would be the point of contact between the manager/playing staff and the clubs key internal departments. At the other end of the scale where resources are limited, the point of contact could be the Community Officer going straight to the First Team Manager. In this instance it is important that good formal documentation is in place to ensure clarity and understanding of visits organised.
The PFA believe that it is good practice to arrange a meeting with both the Manager and Chairman at the start of the season to make them aware of the department’s vision in relation to player visits. This meeting will allow feedback from the Manager with reference to player availability throughout the season and would reinforce to the Chairman the importance of player profile within the local community and the impact that could be made to improve areas such as the clubs fan base (particular the younger fan) and the image of the club through its Corporate Social Responsibility.
Players always accompanied at events
The PFA feel that it is important that player visits are resourced adequately and again this will vary greatly from club to club. A number of clubs have full-time Player Liaison Officers who will be in attendance at the majority of events. At the other end of the scale where resources are limited we feel that it is important that at least one full-time member of staff is in attendance at all events, which could range from Press Officer to Development Officer. This instils confidence and the players know that they have someone at the event that they can trust and who will advise, protect and deal with any issues on the day.
Players always briefed on the nature of the event
This is an important area to get right as it once again makes the players feel at ease with the event. The player must be made aware of his role and be left feeling comfortable with, and prepared for, the activity.
Provide accurate audit of player appearances
It is vital that player appearances are recorded to allow visits to be analysed throughout the season to ensure that all players support events on a local level. This information will also provide key partners with positive news on the work being carried by the players on behalf of the club.
It is important that feedback is provided on a regular basis to the Manager and Players. This could be organised in a number of ways such as verbally through the delegated player representative, providing a monthly success report or by passing on any positive correspondence to both the players and the Manager. This reinforces to the players the impact that they are making on a regular basis and is also good to evaluate the impact of individual visits.
Media/Press Procedure in place
Every picture tells a story and with greater media coverage this can only help raise the awareness of the impact being made by the players up and down the country. Relationships are vital with internal club departments (eg the Press Office) as well as external contacts such as the PFA where there are other media outlets. In the PFA’s case this comes in the form of our own website and new Corporate Magazine: we welcome regular articles throughout the season from all clubs within both the Premier League and Football League.
We would encourage all clubs to produce an Annual Review/Press Release at the end of the season focusing on the impact that has been made by the players during the year. Highlighting key areas such as statistical information, including the number of visits and time that the players have committed to worthy causes, and any special projects that either individual players or the whole squad have been involved throughout the season. This can only improve both the fans’ and general public’s perception of the positive work that is taking place off the pitch.