Charity Commission agrees independent review into footballers’ charity

The Charity Commission has extended its investigation into the Professional Footballers’ Association Charity (PFAC), agreeing terms for an independent review of its governance, management and finances

In December last year, the regulator opened a statutory inquiry into PFAC’s management and governance, which is ongoing.

This followed on from an earlier intervention in 2018 when the Commission opened a regulatory compliance case to explore concerns raised about the charity’s relationship with the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) trade union and their management of conflicts of interest.

At the time, the Commission said that despite extensive engagement, it continued to have serious concerns which have led to the opening of the formal inquiry.

The trustees have now proposed appointing an independent reviewer, and the Commission has worked with them to expand the scope of the issues.

The independent review will be carried out by a specialist charity lawyer and will make recommendations to the trustees on relevant matters, including future arrangements for the charity.

The reviewer will work closely with the Commission’s statutory inquiry and will inform the regulator of any information that may be relevant to the ongoing inquiry.

The PFAC’s purpose is to advance the health and education of its beneficiaries as well as support them during periods of hardship.

The Commission’s statutory inquiry is looking at the charity’s relationship and transactions with other bodies and whether they are in the best interests of the charity.

It is also considering whether the charity’s activities have been exclusively charitable and for the public benefit, examining how conflicts of interest have been dealt with and managed, and whether there has been any unauthorised trustee benefit.

The charity has eight trustees made up of former players PFA members, including Gordon Taylor, who is also PFA chief executive, and Darren Wilson, Brendon Batson, Garth Crooks, Gareth Griffiths, Simon Morgan, Chris Powell, and David Weir.

It does not have any employees and no salaries or wages were paid during the year. The accounts detail a number of outstanding loans to the charity, including £116,156 from PFA Enterprises Ltd, where some of the trustees are directors, and £282,000 due from the PFA General Fund, where trustees are senior officers. Another trustee is a director of the charity’s investment broker, ProSport Wealth Management.

The charity received £24.75m in donations and legacies in 2017-18, primarily from television fees, although this was down £2m year on year, according to the annual accounts for year end 30 June 2018, with £17.4m distributed as grants.

The accounts show that £23.44m was spent on charitable activities and related staff costs were £4.04m.

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