The Professional Footballers Association (PFA) & unionlearn ‘Achievement Through Sport’ programme has been leading on the PFA’s core work of ensuring all players on full/part-time contracts to clubs within the Women Super League (WSL) 1 are signed up as PFA members and can access the learning opportunities and support available to them, along with other benefits.
The WSL is the highest league of women’s football in England and consists of 10 teams including the current champions Chelsea along with Arsenal, Birmingham, Liverpool, Yeovil, Man City, Sunderland, Everton, Bristol City and Reading FC.
At the start of the 2017/18 season, there was only an uptake of 36% membership from the 200 registered players, whereas within the men’s game the uptake of membership is 100%.
To increase the PFA membership of women players in the WSL PFA Education have facilitated workshops at clubs. The PFA’s Riz Rehman has been running sessions which give players an overview on the role of the PFA, highlight the learning and development opportunities that PFA Education can offer players and emphasise the importance of membership uptake.
Workshops have been running since September 2017, and to date 7 of the 10 clubs in the league have been covered – with the remining clubs lined up for forthcoming events.
Kirsty Pearson, the current captain at Reading FC Women and the first female PFA/ULF Rep said:
We’ve got a very young squad and it’s important that the players are aware of the PFA’s support.
Riz came in and gave all the players a good insight into the benefits and services available to them as PFA members. It has given us that awareness of what’s on offer and it has had a big impact and hopefully it can carry on."
Birmingham City’s Maddy Cusack said:
I’m currently studying part-time along-side playing professional football and it was refreshing to hear that the PFA could support financially with my studies.
Prior to Riz coming in I was not a member but since his visit, I have joined as a member and submitted my bursary forms."