The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) has appointed Ben Wright as its new Director of External Affairs.
Wright joins from the consultancy Portland, where he specialised in communications and engagement work with a range of international sports organisations. He was previously Head of Communications at the leading professional cycling team, Team Sky (now known as Ineos Grenadiers).
In his new role Wright will be tasked with overseeing all aspects of the PFA's strategic communications and stakeholder engagement, covering both the union's campaigning work and its range of activities across education, training and wellbeing.
The footballers' union, which represents over 55,000 current and former players from the Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and Women's Super League (WSL) is led by Chief Executive Maheta Molango, who took up the role last Summer.
Wright's appointment to the newly created Director of External Affairs position comes as football's structure and governance undergoes a period of significant reform, with the Government due to bring forward a White Paper outlining in detail it's response to the recommendations of last year's Fan Led Review, led by Tracey Crouch MP. Plans for a major review into the women's domestic game have also been announced.
Wright is one of a group of new recent senior hires at the PFA, with Patrick Coyle joining from Manchester United as Chief Operating Officer. James King also recently joined the PFA from Arsenal as the union's new General Counsel.
Maheta Molango said: "This is another important new senior appointment for the PFA. Ben will play an important role in making sure that those who play and have played the game lead conversations about its future and that the issues that matter to them, such as welfare, post-career support and the impacts of fixture congestion, are at the top of the agenda"
On his appointment, Ben Wright said: "Across the world's most-watched leagues athletes are standing together to force change in how their sports are run and how they are treated. They recognise the power of their voices and want to be heard, both within the game and beyond.
"At a time of significant change within football - at both domestic and international levels - the PFA has a major role to play in making sure those who play the game are listened to, and that the sport looks after those who have served it.
"This is a new era for the union, and I'm looking forward to working with Maheta and the whole PFA team."