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Former players get behind Jon Walters’ application for CEO role at PFA

Jon Walters

Former Republic of Ireland international Jon Walters has applied to be the new CEO of the Professional Footballers’ Association.

Jon Walters has made his case for the role which will be vacated by Gordon Taylor at the end of the current season and there is no shortage of support for the former Stoke City, Ipswich Town and Burnley forward.

After considerable criticism of Taylor’s salary as chief executive of the PFA, his successor is expected to earn less but that hasn’t discouraged Walters from applying.

“I’m very passionate about the PFA,” Walters told The Times. “I feel I am the right man for the PFA because players can relate to me.

“I’ve played in every league. I’ve captained clubs, I’ve captained my country, I’ve been involved on the management committee of the PFA. I like leading.”

It’s understood that Walters’ main rival for the position is ex-Port Vale defender Ben Purkiss, who has served as PFA Chairman since 2017. Applications for the role close on Friday, 19 February, and interviews will be conducted by an independent panel in March.

Jon Walters 2016 UEFA European Championship Group E, Stade de France, France 13/6/2016 Republic of Ireland vs Sweden Ireland's Jonathan Walters

Walters, who represented the Irish national team on 54 occasions, has vowed to prioritise players’ welfare – particularly after retirement – and intends to put much more emphasis on tacking the issue of dementia among former footballers.

“I will go to every single club, stand before every single dressing room and ask them what they want,” Walters explained.

Jon Walters

“We’ve got to give the best service to the members. We’re not a club or agent, we’ve only got their best interest at heart.

“I want to take the PFA forward, be the leader of that and build a team around me. The numbers of players facing bankruptcy, getting divorced after retiring, is horrendous. Forty per cent after the first year get divorced and 75 per cent after three years. The PFA has to address that.”

Walters announced his application via social media and the 37-year-old has been backed by a number of high-profile figures from the world of football.

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