Monday 23 October 2017

Football authorities criticised for missing relaunch of Players Trust

Former sports minister Richard Caborn attending the Players Trust launch reception
Former sports minister Richard Caborn attending the Players Trust launch reception

Football's authorities faced criticism on Tuesday for failing to attend the relaunch of an independent support group offering help to players.

Managers, former players and MPs were present for the meeting at London's Houses of Parliament as The Players Trust, formerly known as The Players Programme, announced its ambition to provide better guidance to players throughout their careers.

It comes in the wake of football's child abuse scandal, which was uncovered in December and has caused more than 500 potential victims to come forward.

The Players Trust plans to assign mentors to players at all levels of the game in this country, from young children training with academies to retired players beginning life outside professional sport.

But while the Football Association, Premier League and Professional Footballers' Association were invited to the conference, none were able to attend.

Richard Caborn, ex-sports minister and former MP for Sheffield, where The Players Trust is based, called on football's leading organisations to show more support.

"I hope with the real wealth of football we come together as a football family," Caborn said.

"I'm a little bit disappointed this afternoon there's not a representative here from that football family for such an important issue as being discussed.

"I hope they will reflect because £1million pounds, when you think billions have been signed to the Premier League just on football rights alone, there is a lot of money in football.

"Football is very good in England but it's also very wealthy and it can invest in a duty of care by supporting the Players Trust."

The Players Trust, a non-profit organisation yet to receive funding, hopes to help players and their families with issues like financial planning, media training and career development.

Oxford manager Michael Appleton said the group can plug a gap that needs to be filled.

"As a manager you have to have so many hats on so it's very difficult to give the time to players that's needed," Appleton said.

"I've been a victim myself. As an ex-player and coach I've been put in front of advisers and so-called experts in their field and been burnt.

"I've lost a lot of money and you get to a point where there needs to be something different."

An FA spokesman said the organisation's key figures were unavailable on Tuesday.

It was said chief executive Martin Glenn and head of safeguarding Sue Ravenlaw were both attending a conference at Wembley with county FA chiefs, where safeguarding was high on the agenda.

The PFA's deputy chief executive John Bramhall said: "We met with The Players Trust last week and we gave our apologies as we couldn't be there for genuine reasons.

"We've engaged with them and have agreed to meet in the future once they have had an opportunity to properly develop their proposals."

A Premier League spokesman said: "We have had conversations with The Players Trust in the past and will gladly do so in the future."

Press Association

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