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Fixing it for PFA Scotland: building union influence out of a transnational project to tackle match-fixing in football

Andrew Harvey Orcid Logo

International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, Volume: 12, Issue: 3, Pages: 423 - 438

Swansea University Author: Andrew Harvey Orcid Logo

Abstract

This article deploys frameworks from the fields of trade union theory and professional football governance theory to gain an understanding of the tactics deployed by the Professional Footballers’ Association, Scotland (PFAS) for collectively representing the interests of its members. The article exp...

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Published in: International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics
ISSN: 1940-6940 1940-6959
Published: 2020
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa54854
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Abstract: This article deploys frameworks from the fields of trade union theory and professional football governance theory to gain an understanding of the tactics deployed by the Professional Footballers’ Association, Scotland (PFAS) for collectively representing the interests of its members. The article explores how the union used the advantages gained through participation in a counter match-fixing project managed by FIFPro to establish itself as a member of an array of committees, task groups and panels so that it might become the collective ‘voice’ of players at the institutional level in football. The article commences with a review of the industrial relations landscape of professional football and the ‘peculiarities’ of the labour market that have produced equally unique trade union strategies that seek to individualise rather than collectivise wage bargaining. The implications of such a strategy are felt in the lack of appropriate contemporary theories of trade union power that might act as explanatory frameworks to aid an understanding of the tactics deployed by PFAS. The article proposes a return to a political institutional model of trade union power popularised by Sidney and Beatrice Webb in the late nineteenth-century. An analysis of interview data collected from a small cohort of expert informants shows that PFAS has taken advantage of a new body in Scottish professional football, the integrity forum, to establish itself as a credible and trustworthy voice of players within broader governing structures, while acknowledging that its sphere of influence remains constrained within a system dominated by more established institutions.
Keywords: Industrial relations, professional footballers’ associations, sport and politics, sport governance, trade union theory
College: Faculty of Science and Engineering
Issue: 3
Start Page: 423
End Page: 438