Whilst on a World Football Summit panel discussing 'Responsibility for Success: Ushering in Sports Governance Over the Next Decade', PFA Chief Exec, Maheta Molango told sports lawyer, Daniel Geey, that the PFA’s diverse, player-centred approach to governance has made the players’ union an industry leader.
Describing the PFA’s decision-making structure, which includes a Players’ Board made up entirely of PFA members and an experienced operational board, he said, “I think right now we're at the forefront of governance, of being creative in terms of how you include the players but acknowledging that this voice, which is a strong voice, should be complemented with expertise of how you run an organisation."
In line with the PFA’s commitment to act according to its members' priorities, the Players’ Board approves all PFA activity, with the Operational Board providing the strategic support to help action Players’ Board decisions. The Operational Board is made up of the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Players’ Board, plus four non-executive directors, who add a wealth of governance experience from outside of the football industry. This combined approach ensures players remain central to the decision making process while also allowing the organisation to be run in the most efficient and compliant way.
Held at Atlético Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium, The World Football Summit provides an opportunity for the football industry's leading stakeholders to meet and help shape the future of the beautiful game. Joined on the panel by FIFA's Chief Legal & Compliance Officer, Emilio Garcia, and FIFPRO’s Director of Global Policy & Strategic Relations Women's Football, Sarah Gregorius, Maheta shared his view that "Players are not just any stakeholder, they are the stakeholder of the industry."
The panel didn’t shy away from discussing big issues within the game, such as player workload, diversity in governance and FIFA’s upcoming agent re-regulations, which Emilio revealed should be expected next year. They also discussed collective bargaining and its role in modern football governance, prompting Maheta to share his experience when visiting players soon after joining the PFA.
“I think if you had gone to a Premier League dressing room about 18 months ago, they would've said, ‘Why do I need a union if I’m making so many millions a year and I’m ok?’ Maheta said, going on to explain how he and the PFA team had helped to change that mindset. “Well, because you’ll find out that there is stuff that you cannot solve on your own. Financial fair play, online abuse, racism and so on. It was refreshing to go into Arsenal and see Aubameyang nodding, or to go to Manchester United and talk to Pogba, to go to Mata, and [they] say, 'Well, you know, that's right. We think that the union can be helpful for us because we understand the strength of the collective voice, versus me picking my individual fight with my Instagram account.”
The panel also weighed in on the subject of more regular international football competitions, with Maheta sharing concerns that overworking players could affect performance and ultimately drive people away from the game. “I think it goes back to the concept, you know, are we really making the most to try and protect the product? We are competing against other entertainment options, and if we continue down that path of just seeing the shadow version of the best players, then people lose interest, and they go to other sources of entertainment. So in the end, we will all suffer from that.”