Just as a player must make outstanding decisions on the field of play to reach the game’s pinnacle, he must also make outstanding decisions off the field in the pursuit of his career. Helping equip players to make better career path decisions is an overriding objective of the PFA.
PFA research shows that:
Over 60 formal cases run by the PFA for overseas based Australians at the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber since 2002 show a strong correlation between Club Category and the likelihood of a player being in dispute with his Club over issues such as the right to play and train with the senior team or unpaid wages. In short, the lower the Category of the Club, the more likelihood the player will be in fundamental dispute with his Club. This is particularly true in nations such as China, Romania and Poland.
Many players are told to simply get themselves into the shop window of Europe, and move up from there. The reality is that the first overseas move will determine a player’s medium to long term international success in more than 80% of cases, and this is best approached after having succeeded through Australia’s elite development system and, quite often, the A-League.
As Australian football implements its Football Development Plan and rolls out the national coaching curriculum, players can have increasing confidence in the quality of Australia’s development system. It is, after all, a system that features the Australian Institute of Sport which has successfully contributed to the development of current stars such as Mark Viduka, Lucas Neill, Vincenzo Grella and Brett Emerton. The return of current Socceroos to the A-League also highlights the benefits available from playing at home and how our league is quickly becoming one of the best in Asia. As the game finally spends millions in the development of our players, the PFA is determined to ensure that agents and clubs with short term agendas don’t drive players into making poor career choices which will have a devastating long term impact on their careers.
Players need to be aware of the pressures placed on them to make a quick move, especially by overseas agents and clubs who often do not have the long term interests of the player at heart.
In order to consider such approaches, players need to ask themselves some key questions:
Having an agent does not mean that a player should not take personal responsibility for key decisions about his career. The PFA can help players answer these questions through our well established relationships on the ground in almost all countries.
The 8 lesson program teaches values to students that include respect, fair play, teamwork and leadership. Click here for more.