As part of their current guest speaker programme, Edge Hill’s Department of Law and Criminology were thrilled to welcome ex-footballer Gordon Taylor OBE to give a players perspective of the beautiful game in a lecture entitled ‘Labour Law and the Professional Football Player’.

Gordon, who is honorary president of the International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPro) and Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers Association (PFA), began by describing how his career developed from being a Lancashire lad who enjoyed a kick-about, through to playing professionally for a number of leading clubs in the UK and North America, including highlights such as playing alongside the likes of Sir Bobby Moore and the legendary Pele.

With the average career of a footballer now only lasting approximately eight years, Gordon emphasised the importance of players also achieving an education and explained how, through continuing with his studies after a promise made to his parents, he has been able to continue working within the football industry long after hanging up his boots.  

Gordon continued his lecture by detailing how the government and Football Association came together following a number of football tragedies during the 1980s to bring about a transformation. This saw the establishment of the National Football Intelligence Unit, the introduction of CCTV, improved policing, more considerate stewarding and greater community involvement at club level.  

Explaining how through his current role he is able to work with clubs to make contributions towards community projects plus education and anti-racism initiatives, Gordon emphasised how teams have a genuine commitment to establishing positive social change and how this has been a key contributor to the resurrection of English football. He informed the group how players today are now contracted to spend between 3 and 6 hours each week undertaking work within their communities.  

Gordon concluded his talk by discussing his involvement with the PFA and gave an overview of the social history of the footballers union. This highlighted the abolition of the maximum wage, the introduction of the Bosman Ruling, which allows professional footballers to change clubs under a free transfer at the end of their contracts, and information about how the sport has never before had this much monetary investment or level of debt.  

The Law and Criminology Guest Speaker programme continues until the end of March, for further information visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/law