Rob was one of FIFPRO’s first staff members and worked selflessly to underpin the finances and direction of the organization as it has grown steadily in size and stature.
He joined in January 2005 even before FIFPRO had moved into its first office in Hoofddorp, near Amsterdam. FIFPRO now has more than 30 staff working together with 65 national player unions representing more than 60,000 footballers.
With a warm smile and infectious laugh, he became a guardian of FIFPRO’s growth, providing steady and unswerving support for staff, player associations and the people associated with FIFPRO.
He could effortlessly switch from technical and complex financial issues to light-hearted moments, combining professionalism with kindness and humanity.
He took deep satisfaction from his work and, at his desk, would whistle Dutch pop and folk songs which his fellow staff often struggled to identify. When they occasionally got it right, he would let rip with one of his raucous laughs.
Rob was born in the Dutch port town of IJmuiden. He trained as an accountant in the 1970s before joining Deloitte. One of his most interesting tasks, he would recount, was auditing the accounts of the biggest casino chain in the Netherlands.
Later, he started his own financial consultancy in Haarlem, which had become his hometown where he lived with his wife Yanie. After a recommendation from a trade union official, he was interviewed by FIFPRO General Secretary Theo van Seggelen and hired in January 2005.
A few months later, FIFPRO moved into its first office.
Over the last 17 years, Rob became widely respected and fondly regarded by FIFPRO employees and player union staff. He made sure that his technical presentations to union staff, many of whom were not native English speakers, were easy to understand.
Outside work, he was a passionate about food, helping Yanie run a successful Indonesian restaurant on the outskirts of Haarlem. Each winter, they would travel to Indonesia to visit family and friends.
Rob showed remarkable bravery and dedication by continuing to come to work even while gravely ill.
During a six-year battle with cancer, with many ups and downs, he remained dedicated to his work and proud of his achievements. In November, when unable to attend the General Assembly in Paris, he prepared his annual update detailing FIFPRO accounts by video message.
Thanks to his work, he leaves a legacy of strong finances that will ensure independence and continue to support FIFPRO, player unions and professional footballers for years to come.
Rob passed away on Sunday March 6 at his home with his wife by his side.
His funeral will take place on Saturday March 12 at 11:00 hours CET.