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The England Professional Footballers Association (PFA) wants to change the disciplinary process of the country’s football association, the FA. Some decisions are simply taking too much time, with negative consequences for all parties.


This Friday, September 28th, the PFA released a statement after the FA’s decision to issue former England captain John Terry a four match suspension and a fine of £220,000 for using racist language towards Anton Ferdinand during a match between Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers, nearly twelve months ago. Terry still has the opportunity to appeal this decision to an appeal board.


‘We would like to stress that the time it has taken for a decision to be reached in this case has benefitted no one. We will be speaking with the FA to seek changes to their disciplinary processes to ensure cases are heard more quickly’, the PFA statement says.


‘The time that this has taken has caused a lot of issues including, for example, international selection and captaincy, respect for opponents and the image of the game. We must therefore work together to ensure that matters such as these are dealt with as expeditiously as possible. It is important that any sanction is served as close as possible to the original offence to avoid situations festering and greater resentment building up.’


FIFPro fully agrees with the PFA. ‘It is unbelievable how long it takes to bring this case to an end. It is still not over’, reacts Theo van Seggelen, FIFPro secretary general. ‘It is of the utmost importance to create clarity in complex matters such as this one, which also generate enormous attention. The longer it takes, the bigger the risk of creating a division among players and other members of the football family.’


‘I followed this case closely and I think the PFA has received some unfair criticism’, Van Seggelen continues. ‘Due to the seemingly neverending process, the PFA had to bite its tongue for a long time. Being a players’ union, you have the responsibility to represent all its players. To comment about a complex situation, before a legal process has come to an end, is out of the question. It’s inappropriate.’


‘I understood there was some criticism, about the PFA being complacent, about the PFA backing away from racism issues, about the PFA not doing enough anymore to fight racist behaviour.’ 


‘That’s totally besides the story.’


‘The PFA has always been and still is a frontrunner in tackling racism and all other forms of discrimination. As I remember, they took the initiative in the early nineties to create the first anti-discrimination organisation. Currently they are highly involved with Show Racism The Red Card. The PFA is also working with the leagues and the FA on anti-discrimination and equality issues. The English union is involved in many activities.’


‘Within FIFPro, the PFA has a leading role in our anti-racism campaign and corporate social responsibility initiatives. I could only wish, that all our unions were involved in as many initiatives as the PFA is.’