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Independent review into PFA will not be published due to ‘confidentiality’

Soccer – Barclays Under 21 Premier League – Liverpool v Southampton – Liverpool Academy
(Image credit: Peter Byrne)

Geoff Thompson, chair of the Professional Footballers’ Association operational board, has insisted the independent review of the union cannot be published due to confidentiality.

While recommendations of the review, first commissioned in 2018, were published and new rules adopted, it remains unseen by the wider public.

Thompson told a parliamentary select committee on Tuesday: “We had to respect the confidentiality many of those whom participated in the review were given for its assurance.

“It allowed for a frank and honest reflection of the PFA in its previous reform and now the recommendations have been taken on.”

He continued: “We have discussed it at great length and it has taxed the PFA but, in a recent meeting with a sports minister, we offered to take him through the report. Nothing untoward is in it but we are willing to respect the confidentially of those who are in it.”

DCMS chair Julian Knight asked what guarantees were given to those who took part in the independent review, and pointed out the terms of reference were made by former chief executive Gordon Taylor, who stood down in 2021 after 40 years in the role.

Thompson said: “Guarantees were given to members, members were given the opportunity to review it, recommendations have been publicly shared and disclosed.

“In my mind, having reviewed the report, we have met our responsibilities while acknowledging there is wider public interest who would like to see that report.”

PFA chief executive Maheta Molango

PFA chief executive Maheta Molango (Khalid Bari Photography/PA)

PFA chief executive Maheta Molango stressed the organisation condemns any sort of violence, with Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood having been released on bail last week after being questioned over the alleged rape and assault of a young woman.

Molango told the select committee: “We absolutely condemn any sort of violence and any domestic violence. My mum is a social worker and she has worked with people who have either suffered or been involved in domestic violence.

“We have a joint funding with the Premier League where we do workshops to discuss sexual consent, how do you engage in a relationship and what is acceptable or not acceptable.”

Asked if anybody found guilty of rape should continue to play football, Molango replied: “Legally speaking can someone who has done this time, work in general? I would say yes legally.

Mason Greenwood was released on bail last week

Mason Greenwood was released on bail last week (Martin Rickett/PA)

“It is morally the right thing to do? I have my own opinion but I am not here to say that.”

Pushed further, Molango said: “You have to be consistent in what you support as a certain organisation.”

Thompson said the PFA agrees with the suspension of a player while under investigation over a rape allegation.

He said: “It would be right to put the player on a suspended protocol of training until a judgement is reached.”

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