Ex Sports Minister claims PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor ‘will have to go’ after 300 former footballers called for him to stand down
- Gordon Taylor, 73, has led the Professional Footballer’s Association since 1981
- He is under pressure from a growing list of former players and politicians
- Taylor was last year paid £2.29m for representing professional footballers
- Ex-players claim Taylor could have represented football stars more effectively
Pressure was mounting on the footballers’ union boss to resign last night after a former sports minister said he believed it was ‘time to go’.
As the Charity Commission launched a probe into expenditure at the Professional Footballers’ Association, ex-Labour MP Richard Caborn said the union could have have done ‘a far better job’ with the resources at its disposal.
Over the last week, Sportsmail has revealed details of an unprecedented power struggle at the top of the mega-rich body. Chief executive Gordon Taylor, who was paid £2.29million last year, has faced calls to quit from a group of 300 ex-players – including big names such as Chris Sutton and Robbie Savage.
PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor, left, ,pictured with England manager Gareth Southgate and PFA chairman Ben Purkiss, right, has been urged to resign in order to modernise the organisation which he has led since 1981
Many have supported new chairman Ben Purkiss in his demand for an independent governance review. In response, Mr Purkiss, 34, was met by a move to have him ousted as chairman.
And yesterday – while stopping short of calling for him to quit – Mr Caborn said he believed Mr Taylor, 73, will have to leave the role he has held since 1981 when Premier League boss Richard Scudamore departs next month.
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Mr Caborn, the sports minister between 2001 and 2007, said: ‘Now Richard Scudamore is going, there’s going to be some changes and I would have thought Gordon will have to go.
‘Under the new chairman, it looks as though the organisation is looking to modernise and, clearly, its members are expecting a better service than they have received in the past.’
Some high profile former players such as Robbie Savage, pictured, have called for Mr Taylor’s resignation
Criticism of Mr Taylor’s regime has included a comparison between his pay and the PFA’s meagre £125,000 contribution for research into dementia among ex-pros. The PFA also has £500million in reserves and Mr Taylor has been accused by former players of ‘failing the people his organisation is meant to serve’.
Mr Caborn added: ‘With the resources given to the PFA, including £26million a year from the Premier League TV money, they could have done a far better job.
‘As well as the other matters we’ve been hearing about, something I find disgraceful is the lack of representation for players under 16. We have a sector where when a young person comes in, they get ripped off and exploited by the agents or the clubs. They and their parents currently have no help and nowhere to turn.’
Mr Caborn, an ambassador for England’s unsuccessful bid to host this year’s World Cup, also said the PFA’s ‘leadership was brought into question’ following revelations five years ago about Mr Taylor’s gambling habits, which included building up £100,000 in debt.
Gambling addiction is known to be a problem affecting current and former footballers.
On Wednesday, Mr Taylor broke an almost week-long silence with an open letter to PFA members agreeing to a ‘full and open review’ led by an independent QC.
Among the issues likely to be investigated by the Charity Commission include how the latest accounts for the PFA’s charity arm, which helps support past and current players, show staff costs of nearly £3.8million for its activities.
Elsewhere, the same accounts highlighted how ‘the charity does not have any employees and therefore no salaries or wages have been paid during the year’. Last night, Mr Taylor was unavailable for comment at his £500,000 home near Clitheroe, Lancashire.
The Charity Commission said: ‘The public rightly expect charitable funds to go to causes they are set up to support. As regulator we expect all charities to carefully steward funds in the best interests of their charity in order to maximise their benefit to society.’
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