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The Professional Footballers’ Association of Ghana (PFAG) is one of FIFPro’s candidate members. Secretary general Anthony Baffoe has made great progress since the establishment of the union in 2009.


In a recent interview with Ghana Soccernet, Baffoe (former professional footballer in Germany and France) talks about the objectives, achievements and the future of the PFAG.


Could you please introduce the PFAG?
‘I am the founder and general secretary of the PFAG which was registered in 2009 and launched in May 2010. We have Kwasi Appiah as our President, Stephen Appiah and Michael Essien as 1st and 2nd vice president respectively and also a powerful and experienced board which consists of current and retired players like Abedi Pele, Tony Yeboah, Kwame Ayew, Marcel Desailly, Sammy Kuffour, Augustine Ahinful and Richard Kingson amongst others.


What are some of the challenges this association is faced with?
‘In the beginning it was difficult to get acceptance from the general public and people were trying to pull us down through the media. People were asking who we were, whether we were registered and so on. We took it cool because we knew clearly what we wanted to do. Nowadays, the media are giving us positive and fair reportage.’


What are some of the achievements chalked so far?
‘We have managed to sign-on both the entire Black Stars team, we have also signed-on league champions Berekum Chelsea and have succeeded in doing some works for individual players. More and more players come here every day to sign-on in their individual capacities. But we prefer to do it as a group, that is with the clubs, because we believe it also helps their general administration.’


How come Ghana players recently were getting into contractual problems with their clubs if really this body is up and doing?
‘That is why it is still a challenge to create more and more awareness. For us it should be a normal thing for players to come to us for consultancy whenever they are making moves, be it transfers or other things. One thing these players must understand is that this union is affiliated with international bodies for which if you have a problem at least they will get competent backing in defending their case. However, once our members get into such troubles, we do all we can to help them.’


‘We’d wish if the players come to us before, so we can avoid such problems. Unfortunately for them too, the industry is now being dominated and influenced by money so if you don’t get the right counsel and advice, you might get into trouble. We are only interested in protecting the careers of our members.’


What are you doing to minimize or stop this unfortunate trend?
‘I hope other players are watching what is currently going on and see the need to join us so we can help them when they get into such problems, but then we have been communicating with the affected players to see how best we can assist them.’


‘More and more players especially in Division One are getting duped with paying visa fees by agents who promise to get players trials abroad so we urge the players to at least have a copy of contracts. And apart from having a manager or agent they should also have a legal adviser, it’s very important.’


How transparent is this organization to its members and the general public?
‘It is very important, at the moment we are accredited members of FIFPro. We will be presenting audited accounts to the board. For now we only receive assistance monies but we have receipts and invoices of every transaction well kept in our records. We are even looking at the possibility of publishing our audited accounts on our website to show our transparency to the general public.’


What are the other requirements other than being a footballer to join the PFAG?
‘Being a player is the no.1 requirement. We need disciplined, focused, punctual and players who invest in the career. It is also important to note that we are not always pro players. If a player falls out of line, it is part of our responsibilities to appropriately sanction and therefore no one can be a member of the Pfag and misbehave thinking he will go scot-free.’


I have realized that the union always offers support whenever any of the national teams have a crucial game, what’s with that?

‘I am glad you mentioned Ghana. Ghana is not only the Black Stars, we did it recently with the Black Meteors when we visited their camp. It is very important to share some of our experiences with the up and coming ones and also inspire them ahead of any crucial battle.’


Apart from your core mandate, what other things does the PFAG do?
‘We have social and corporate responsibilities. We want to organize NGO tournaments, legend dinners and so on.'


'We had a successful PFAG academy tournament recently, we are one of the driving forces for the introduction of the academy league and we are also interested in making a case for player representation on the various administrative, management and technical committees of the Ghana Football Association.’


What does the future hold for the PFAG?
‘We already have FIFPro Division Africa which I support with my competence. We hope countries like Nigeria, Mali, Togo, Senegal, Benin come on board. There is a tight bond existing amongst the members of FIFPro Division Africa. Our secretary general, Stéphane Burchkalter, is doing a great job.’


‘One major thing we also hope to achieve is to have an international standardized contract which will eliminate all these niggle problems.’


‘We are also in discussion with FA President Kwesi Nyantakyi to see whether we can constitute a pension scheme for our players. We can for instance put maybe 5 to 10 percent of their bonuses away for their benefit in the future.’