November 16, 2018 / 4:50 AM / a month ago

Soccer-Taylor faces call for independent review into players' union

Nov 16 (Reuters) - Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) chairman Ben Purkiss has called for an independent review into the functioning of the players’ union, in a move being viewed as a challenge to long-serving chief executive Gordon Taylor.

Purkiss, a defender at third-tier Walsall, was elected chairman last November and is keen for the union to modernise, saying on Twitter on Thursday that a review is in the PFA’s best interests.

“I have a duty to act in the best interests of the PFA. Sometimes you have to make a stand for what is right. Football is rapidly evolving, players are rapidly evolving and the PFA needs to evolve too,” the 34-year-old said.

“Players past, present and future need a PFA for the modern player.”

Purkiss is pushing for the PFA to play a greater role in helping players with mental health issues, an area in which the union has been criticised for a perceived lack of effectiveness.

The call for an independent review has not gone down well with Taylor, who responded by questioning Purkiss’ eligibility to serve as chairman on the basis that he is a non-contract player at Walsall.

British newspaper the Daily Mail reported that Taylor had written to the 92 PFA club delegates this week to adjourn the union’s Annual General Meeting while raising the issue of Purkiss’ eligibility as chairman.

“There is a current issue which we are dealing with regarding the position of Ben Purkiss and his eligibility to remain as chairman and we have taken the decision to adjourn this meeting (AGM),” Taylor said in the letter. (Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru)

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