Francis Awaritefe replaces Brendan Schwab as chair of Australia's players' union

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Brendan Schwab has stepped down as chair of the Professional Footballers Australia players' union, with former Socceroo Francis Awaritefe replacing him in the role.

Schwab, who co-founded the players' union in 1993, left the role due to the demands of his new position as executive director of the World Players Association, the Swiss-based global players' union.

He had been involved with the PFA for the past 25 years, including two stints as chief executive, and as the union's special counsel.

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Awaritefe's appointment comes as the PFA negotiates collective bargaining agreements for the A-League and W-League off the back of a change in leadership.

Former chief executive John Didulica departed when his contract ended on July 1, with Beau Busch and Kate Gill named co-chief executives.

"Given my commitment to Australian football, it is disappointing to be stepping down at a time when the game faces so many profound challenges and the players in the professional leagues are without the protection of a CBA," Schwab said.

"I am confident that under the leadership of Alex (PFA president Alex Wilkinson), Francis, Kate and Beau, the players will be able to negotiate new CBAs on a win-win basis to carry the game forward."

Awaritefe is on the PFA executive and is also chair of the union's steering committee, negotiating the new CBAs.

He was previously a delegate and executive member during his long NSL playing career.

"It is essential that the incredible sacrifice, commitment and quality football demonstrated by the players in completing the 2019-20 A-League season despite COVID-19 is recognised in the new CBA," Awaritefe said.

"It is time to rebuild and reboot the professional game in Australia, which requires vision, trust, knowledge and courage."