14th November 2014

The Professional Footballers Association (PFA) is pleased to launch the ‘PFA Community Player Engagement Evaluation 2013/2014’ report, which highlights the achievements and processes developed during the delivery of community, charity and non-commercial activities by the 92 professional football clubs in the 2013/14 campaign.

The PFA is more committed than ever to see Community Player Engagement at the very heart of a Club’s social responsibilities work.

Player appearances have helped clubs address key social issues in Health, Education, Social Inclusion and Equalities and the result of these efforts are there for all to see with 39,658 appearances during last season.

Building on best practice scenarios the PFA have been able to raise standards of support and disseminate this information to other clubs and players around the country.

“The PFA continue to provide advice, guidance and support to all its members ensuring they are fully aware of their social responsibilities. The formalisation of player appearance procedures across all 92 clubs as part of the governance through Capability Status has enabled better access to first team squads whilst bringing press officers, player liaison officers and community officers closer together.

This social responsibility programme has been in place for almost 30 years and has allowed Football Clubs and its players, our members, to make a significant difference for the good in their communities.” Gordon Taylor OBE, PFA Chief Executive.

The PFA’s influence with clubs continues to be at the forefront and for the last decade it has seen an increased integration of ideas to ensure more meaningful player involvement through formalised player appearance procedures at clubs whilst also providing reassurance and guidance to maximise performance.

Since the 2005/06 season the number of community player appearances has increased dramatically. The number of visits for the last few years has been over 4 times the recorded visits back in 2005/6. Since 2010 appearances have consistently totalled between 35,000 – 40,000 visits each year. The PFA see this as an excellent response in support of Community and Charitable initiatives, something the players deserve a huge amount of credit for across all 4 leagues.

“The improved Capability status criteria, which all 92 Community Programmes adhere to has undoubtedly raised standards and underpins the quality of delivery, providing increased  opportunities for development, participation and engagement, whilst also continuing to embed player responsibilities, which is key to the PFA’s ongoing investment.”

John Hudson, PFA Director of Corporate Social Responsibility.

The PFA’s Charitable Partnerships go from strength to strength with the Premier League/PFA Community Fund, The Football League Trust, The Football Conference Trust, The Princes Trust, Kick It Out, Show Racism the Red Card, The Bobby Moore Fund, Know the Score, The England Footballers Foundation and Coaching for Hope to name just a few …

The PFA’s financial commitment to these partnerships alone is approximately £7million each year, highlighting not only the monetary investment but the serious nature of the union’s overall Corporate Social Responsibilities agenda.

The PFA’s ‘Community Player of the Year’ Award was once again prominent at the Football League’s main showcase event earlier in the year and with every club nominating their very own Community Champion, choosing a winner was a difficult feat.

However, the panel of judges from the world of football and media were unanimous in their decision to pay recognition to Reda Johnson (former Sheffield Wednesday FC). Having made over 100 community appearances over the past 3 seasons, Reda also made a substantial donation to allow a local school to purchase a computer system for the less physically able. Reda stated on receiving his award: “Sometimes you have to think about other people and try to help people who need it. Sometimes it’s not only about money, it is just a smile, you go to see people and try and make their lives a bit easier. I love it.”

The PFA Community Player Engagement Evaluation 2013/2014 report is available to view online by clicking here.