Dunphy is critical of my statement that as a result of the judgment the game will never be the same again. Yet clearly this is going to be the case. The consequences are a contraction in the number of clubs and job opportunities. Without protection for national talent, clubs will look abroad for cheaper players and have no encouragement to invest in youth training.
Far from being a "Luddite" union, the Professional Footballers Association has developed a unique youth training scheme with some 1,250 boys on two-year courses, the community programme that developed as a result of the Heysel tragedy, and campaigns against racism and drug abuse. Our membership is at record levels and our pension scheme, funded by a 5 per cent levy on transfer fees, has paid pounds 10m to players in every division.
We presently have more full-time clubs (92) and more full-time players (nearly 4,000) than any other country in the world. During the recession we've seen higher aggregate attendances for eight consecutive years. Hardly a declining industry and hardly a declining union.
Professional Footballers Association, Manchester