Gordon Taylor to step down as chief executive of PFA after independent review

Gordon Taylor is to step down as chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association after an independent review has been completed.

Mr Taylor, who has headed the union since 1981, announced in November of last year there would be a review following criticism led by chairman Ben Purkiss.

The 74-year-old claimed "attacks levelled at our organisation and its leadership through the media were both unfounded and unfair" but will leave the role in the near future.

The PFA held its annual general meeting in Manchester on Wednesday, where it was decided Mr Taylor would remain at the helm until a review came to an end - confirming they had "agreed a continuity plan that will provide the organisation with stability through its upcoming independent review process."

Mr Taylor, Mr Purkiss and the management committee will all step down at the AGM that follows the completion of the review, the union said, and after the conclusion of the independent review "a formal independent recruitment process will start for a new CEO of the PFA."

The AGM was originally due to be held in November, but was delayed by Purkiss' challenge and the ongoing internal power struggle.

Taylor with England manager Gareth Southgate (centre) and PFA chairman Ben Purkiss. Credit: PA

Speaking after the AGM, Mr Taylor hit out at his critics and said the PFA was now "united" in how to plan for the future.

"The end of 2018 was an extremely difficult period for the hard-working, excellent staff of the PFA," he said in a statement.

"Many of the attacks levelled at our organisation and its leadership through the media were both unfounded and unfair.

"It is true that, at times last year, members of the Management Committee did not see eye-to-eye on a number of issues but, following a series of meetings over the last few months, we are now united on the best way forward for the organisation."

After leaving the meeting, Ben Purkiss said the PFA was a "members' organisation run by the players for the players. It's ultimately their decision."

He said an "orderly transition" to new leadership had been arranged that would ensure they "get the best person for the job".

Mr Purkiss said his criticism of Mr Taylor's leadership had been about "ensuring that the members are represented" and that he was the simply the "channel who needs to communicate those views".

In February, Mr Taylor said Sports Resolutions had been appointed to conduct the review and that a panel was being put in place.

Mr Taylor's £2.2million salary made him best-paid union official in Britain and has been the cause of considerable controversy.

Former players have also raised concerns over governance issues, with hundreds of members unhappy at how the union was run and how the money was spent.