PFA Review That Led To Gordon Taylor’s Departure Will Not Be Made Public

The much anticipated and damaging independent review from the Professional Footballers’ Association will not be published – in a controversial move that could lead to cover-up charges.

New chief executive Maheta Molango told members today that the report, which led to his own arrival and the ouster of controversial former supremo Gordon Taylor, will remain secret despite calls for greater transparency.

The QC-led review followed a 2018 crisis sparked by a power struggle between Taylor and ex-chairman Ben Purkiss, after the latter gave an explosive interview in this paper.

An independent report in the PFA with ‘incredibly damning’ details about former CEO Gordon Taylor’s reign will not be made public

Sources have revealed it contains some “incredibly damning” details about Taylor’s regime and the culture that existed within the union.

Many felt that after Taylor’s £2m-a-year departure in June, the report, which had been commissioned at considerable expense, would be made public and many of those under the PFA, who acted as its acolytes considered, would face a struggle to stay in place.

But Molango, 39, told members at today’s AGM that he will not publish.

And in a lengthy interview, he explained his reasoning, saying that players and the new player board – created in the wake of the review – had told him not to “focus on the past.”

“The decision was made by the new player board, the voice of the locker room,” he said.

“I feel like people were just tired of hearing the PFA talk about themselves. I think people wanted the PFA to focus on what’s important, on the players, rather than the internal turmoil and bickering and infighting.

“The feeling was that people just wanted to talk about the players, as opposed to the less player-related issues we’ve had in the past.”

Taylor's 40-year reign as chief executive of the players' union came to an end earlier this year

Taylor’s 40-year reign as chief executive of the players’ union came to an end earlier this year

Many believe the decision will now allow those considered to be Taylor’s allies to retain positions of influence, with the alleged old guard retaining significant control. However, Molango denied that this was the case.

“I understand where you’re coming from,” he said. “But I don’t need the report to draw conclusions about who is or isn’t fit for a particular purpose.

“Publishing it will not affect the staff of the PFA. I don’t need to publish a report to know what to do.

“The PFA needed to improve how it did things, rather than what it did. We need to be more policy-driven, more administrative. Be bulletproof in terms of policy, governance and supervision.’

Molango added that he was aware of a possible reaction after the decision.

“I’m very aware that people will be against this,” he said. ‘When you run an organisation, you have to make decisions. It’s a collective decision, but I’m the chief executive and I have to take responsibility and accept criticism.”

New PFA chief executive Maheta Molango has made the decision not to publish the report, as the organization must look forward rather than backward

New PFA chief executive Maheta Molango has made the decision not to publish the report, as the organization must look forward rather than backward

A long-running Charity Commission investigation into the PFA’s charitable arm is still ongoing.

Molango drew criticism for refusing to serve immediately on the board of the money-rich charity, leaving those seeking desperate financial aid to help care for loved ones with dementia question the wisdom behind the postponement.

“The charity and the union are two separate entities,” he said. “I have no control over what they do. The Charity Commission investigation – one of the key points is that there must be a separation of the two entities. I cannot exert any influence.

“I have paused my decision to join until the divorce is complete. Even if I did join, I would be a minority. I wouldn’t have any control over it.’

Molango added that “99 percent” of the report’s recommendations had been implemented and reiterated that he was acting on behalf of the players.

“I’ve been to all the dressing rooms in the Premier League,” he said. “I’ve been to League Two. I have gone through a thorough advisory process. I spoke to owners, main drivers, former players. Jordan Henderson, (dementia activist) Dawn Astle.

“The common perception is that right now they desperately want us to focus on things that are important to them.

“They said, ‘You guys just bored us talking about yourself.’ Please focus on us. That is the message from members.’

Outgoing CEO Taylor to receive the PFA Merit Award in June this year

Outgoing CEO Taylor to receive the PFA Merit Award in June this year

Molango also claimed that the culture within the PFA had already changed since his summer arrival.

“There is now a level of transparency that has never been seen before,” he said.

“I talk to the chair four times a week. Weekly consultation with the board. Bi-weekly diaries go to members to tell them what I’m doing.

‘I couldn’t be more transparent about what I do. If anyone thinks not publishing the report isn’t transparent, there’s little I can do. Maybe that has a point. But I’m not like that.’

The PFA has come under heavy criticism for its role in the football dementia scandal. Campaigners such as John Stiles, son of World Cup winner Nobby, want it to establish a long-term care fund to help the families of former players with dementia who are struggling to pay for help.

John Stiles - son of legend Nobby - has led calls to the PFA to support families of former footballers suffering from neurodegenerative disease

John Stiles – son of legend Nobby – has led calls to the PFA to support families of former footballers suffering from neurodegenerative disease

World Cup winner Nobby Stiles' brain found to contain CTE caused by repeated head trauma

World Cup winner Nobby Stiles’ brain found to contain CTE caused by repeated head trauma

But after announcing plans for a joint health fund in October, Molango — who admitted more needs to be done to make current players aware of the risks — said all football should work together to help.

“Those players played for clubs, for national teams, in the FA Cup, in different competitions around the world,” he explained.

‘That is why this is a shared responsibility and we expect all stakeholders to contribute to the fund. The reactions were positive, but everyone should also be very aware of the responsibility.

‘All stakeholders, not just the PFA. Some are enthusiastic, others struggle with the idea that they should contribute to the fund and they should. They have to.’

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