PFA Scotland is delighted to make available the eleventh edition of  its “Player” newsletter.

Included in the final publication for season 2013-14 is a feature on Livingston’s Andrew Barrowman and his participation in the FIFPro degree course, Brett Molloy of East Stirlingshire discuss his experience with social media, while former Partick Thistle youngster Bradley Halsman describes his new business venture.

There is also a review of the launch of the educational film Mind Games: Mental Health in Scottish football, a look back at the recent CV and Career Planning course, along with information on third party ownership and social dialogue.

To read the newsletter online please click on the following link:








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Ahead of the PFA Scotland Awards Dinner on Sunday 27th April, the respective teams of the year from each division have been announced.

Each team was voted for by players from that league and are as follows, with PFA Scotland congratulating each player for being selected.

Premiership Team of the Year

Fraser Forster Celtic

Graeme Shinnie Inverness CT

Virgil Van Dijk Celtic

Mark Reynolds Aberdeen

Andrew Robertson Dundee United

Stuart Armstrong Dundee United

Peter Pawlett Aberdeen

Kris Commons Celtic

Stevie May St Johnstone

Kris Boyd Kilmarnock

Nadir Ciftci Dundee United


Championship Team of the Year

Michael McGovern Falkirk

Paul McGinn Dumbarton

Will Vaulks Falkirk

Stephen Kingsley Falkirk

Ziggy Gordon Hamilton

Anthony Andreu Hamilton

Mark Millar Falkirk

Ali Crawford Hamilton

Kane Hemmings Cowdenbeath

Rory Loy Falkirk

Peter McDonald Dundee


League One Team of the Year

Cammy Bell Rangers

Ryan Williamson Dunfermline

Lee McCulloch Rangers

Callum Morris Dunfermline

Lee Wallace Rangers

Andy Stirling Stranraer

Andy Geggan Dunfermline

Nicky Law Rangers

Michael Moffat Ayr United

Jon Daly Rangers

Gavin Swankie Forfar Athletic


League Two Team of the Year

Graeme Smith Peterhead

Devon Jacobs Berwick Rangers

Steven Noble Peterhead

Michael Dunlop Albion Rovers

Kieran MacDonald Clyde

Blair Spittal Queens Park

David Anderson Queens Park

Lee Currie Berwick Rangers

Kenny MacKay Annan Athletic

Rory McAllister Peterhead

Andy Rodgers Peterhead

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8610940 The nominees for PFA Scotland Player and Young Player of the Year awards will be announced today at the Hilton, Glasgow.

Last year’s Player of the Year Award went to Motherwell (now with NEC Nijmegen) star Michael Higdon, while the Young Player accolade went to Hibernian (now Celtic) striker Leigh Griffiths.

This year’s nominees will be unveiled at a special media event at the Glasgow Hilton and will share their views on the players within Scottish football that have impressed them during the 2013/14 season.

Players vote for the top performing players in their own division as well as nominating a young player from across all four divisions in Scotland.

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 Symptoms relating to depression and anxiety are highly prevalent among professional footballers, according to a new mental health study released today by the World Footballers’ Association FIFPro.

The research conducted by FIFPro’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Vincent Gouttebarge found 26% of active professional footballers suffer from depression/anxiety, compared to 39% of cases studied among retired players.

“Contrary to popular belief, the life of a professional footballer has some dark sides,” said Dr. Gouttebarge.

“FIFPro’s study, the first of its kind on a global scale, becomes the basis for the international football community to develop and implement optimal strategies to protect and promote the sustainable health of professional footballers.”

“Former professional footballers report more mental health problems than current players, endorsing that the period just after retirement from professional football is a critical one for many players.”

“We found mental illness among former professional footballers occurs more often than in other measured populations.” (Bultmann 2002; Korten 2000; King 2008; Schaal 2011)

FIFPro, with the assistance of six member unions from the Netherlands, Scotland, Republic of Ireland, USA, Australia and New Zealand, measured over 300 active and former professional footballers. Using well-recognised and validated questionnaires (i.e. scales), the study measured outcomes ranging from distress, burnout, anxiety/depression and low self-esteem to adverse health behaviours covering alcohol consumption, smoking and general nutrition.

Two former international players who endorsed the study, Chris Jackson (New Zealand, 60 caps, 1990-2003) and Jonny Walker (USA, 3 caps, 2004), both agreed to share personal details of their own struggles with mental illness.

Key Figures:

Active Professional Footballers

180 active professional footballers participated, of which 60% were playing for a club of the highest national league at the time of the study.

26% of active players reported suffering from depression/anxiety and adverse nutritional behavior.

19% reported adverse alcohol behaviour.

3% reported having low self-esteem.

7% said they were smoking

5% reported signs of burnout and 10% were found to be in distress

Key Figures:

Former Professional Footballers

121 former professional footballers participated, of which almost 65% spent the majority of their careers playing for a club of the highest national league.


Gouttebarge et al. (2014) Severe time-loss injuries and surgeries in relation to mental health in professional football. 23rd International Conference on Sports Rehabilitation and Traumatology, Milan, Italy.Gouttebarge et al. (2013) Prevalence of mental health complaints and psychosocial implications in current and former professional football players, 9th Sport-medical Scientific Congress, Ermelo, the Netherlands

39% reported suffering from depression/anxiety

42% reported adverse nutritional behaviour.

32% reported adverse alcohol behaviour.

5% reported having a low self-esteem

12% said they were smoking

15% showed signs of burnout and 18% were found to be in distress

Dr. Gouttebarge said professional football is littered with psychological pitfalls for the players. “Once the players stop with intensive physical activities they lose their structured life, their social support by trainers and team mates diminishes, they need to find their place in ‘regular’ society, and find another occupation. Consequently, they are likely to experience some mental health problems during this period.”

Mental Illness No Longer Taboo

By proving scientifically that mental illness in football is widespread, and higher than normal among former professional players compared to other studied populations, FIFPro hopes to increase awareness and acceptance on a subject which was once taboo. As Dr. Gouttebarge explains, the veil on mental illness has been lifted and there is no need for players to suffer in silence or fear recrimination should they choose to come forward.

“Football stakeholders have a collective responsibility to remove the stigma associated with mental illness.”

“All players, whether active or retired, can learn optimal behaviours and coping skills to manage the symptoms of mental illness.”

Several physical and psychological stressors were explored in the study such as severe injuries (training or competition absence for more than four weeks), surgeries, life events (death of a family member) and (social) support from trainer and team mates. All these aspects were self-reported by the players.

Of the 180 active players who participated, a total of 174 severe injuries were reported of which 31% related to knee joints and 12% ankle joints. Seventeen [17] percent reported having three or more serious injuries. In addition, active players reported a total 170 surgical interventions from which more than half related to knees and ankles.

Dr. Gouttebarge said, “”When it comes to any health problem, be it physical or mental, over the short or long term, the minimum standard is to raise self-awareness of players about these issues. They need to be aware of what might occur during and after their football career.”

An acute lack of scientific data about mental illness among professional footballers has been a driving factor behind FIFPro’s global undertaking to establish a new benchmark in this field. Dr. Gouttebarge said the next stage is to gather more data across a variety of countries and continents to add to this important body of work which represents a significant breakthrough in protecting and promoting the sustainable health of professional footballers worldwide.

A full breakdown of the research can be viewed here:

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FIFPro, the World Footballers’ Association, will make an important announcement, this Wednesday (April 2, 2014), uncovering the extent of ‘Mental Illness in Professional Football’. It follows an international study conducted by FIFPro’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Vincent Gouttebarge, of more than 300 current and former professional footballers from the Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland, USA, Australia and New Zealand.


The findings reveal wide-spread examples of footballers who have experienced symptoms of depression and anxiety, among other mental health issues. This will provide rare insight and much-needed scientific data as the basis for an informed discussion around a highly sensitive topic, which often sees its victims living in darkness.


Dr Gouttebarge said the study reveals “some dark sides” to being a full-time professional footballer and provides a much-needed reference point to help improve the overall health of the players, at all stages of their career, particularly when transitioning to life after football.


“The attention given to the professional footballers’ health by international governing bodies or clubs, and most researchers, is principally directed toward the occurrence of injuries, which is peculiar as health involves not only physical well-being but also mental and social well-being, both short and long term.”


“FIFPro is taking the lead on a global scale to educate and support players, while empowering them to come forward by removing the stigma associated with mental illness in football,” concluded Dr. Gouttebarge.



Considering the lack of knowledge about mental illness, and with regard to the presence of several physical and psychological stressors during and after a career in professional football, FIFPro and six national unions – who help form a network of 55 FIFPro members worldwide – supported an international scientific study to gather data about mental illness among current and former professional footballers.


Outline of the FIFPro study

The six national unions which collaborated in the study: the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), the Professional Footballers’ Association of Ireland (PFAI), the Vereniging van Contractspelers (VVCS), the New Zealand Professional Footballers’ Association (NZPFA), the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Scotland, and the Major League Soccer Players Union (MLSPU).


Measurement of mental health illness

In the study, the following outcome measures related to mental illness were included: distress, burnout, anxiety/depression, low self-esteem, and adverse health behaviours (alcohol, smoking, nutrition). To assess these measures, well-recognised and validated questionnaires (i.e. scales) were used.


Measurement of physical and psychological stressors

Several physical and psychological stressors were explored in the study such as severe injuries (training or competition absence for more than four weeks), surgeries, life events (death of a family member) and (social) support from trainer and team mates. All these aspects were self-reported by the players.


With the information provided by such a study, FIFPro aims to understand mental health problems that might occur during and/or after a professional football career. Subsequently, FIFPro and its member unions can help develop and implement optimal strategies in order to protect and promote the sustainable health of professional footballers.

PFA Scotland is pleased to have been involved in the survey with Jack Ross commenting “the research undertaken by Vincent Gouttebarge will provide invaluable information and complement the work we are currently undertaking in Scotland.  Our recent launch of Mind Games:Mental Health in Scottish football, is covered here


For more information and media interested in contacting Dr. Vincent Gouttebarge, please put your request to the FIFPro Communications department.




Raymond Beaard

+31 23 55 46 970

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PFA Scotland was pleased to launch yesterday in Glasgow it’s educational film on Mental Health in Scottish football titled “Mind Games”

The film which has been created in partnership with SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and “see me” is aimed at raising awareness of the subject of mental health issues in football, and across wider society along with continuing to reduce the stigma attached to admission of any difficulties.

Furthermore it is hoped that the production of the film will assist towards the creation of an improved support structure for players should they require support for any mental health related issues.

The contribution of both current and former players to the film is vital to the messages conveyed within the production and will be invaluable as the footage is used to educate players and heighten their awareness of the subject of mental health.

Jack Ross from PFA Scotland who has been behind the campaign commented “As a players union we are conscious of our responsibility towards the protection of player welfare.  Undoubtedly some other sports have been progressive in their attitudes towards assisting athletes with mental health issues but within Scottish sport we believe we are leading the way in terms of recognition of the issue and in our aims to create the necessary guidance and advice network.”

“We are extremely grateful to Neil Lennon, Iain Russell, Robbie Neilson and Ian Murray for agreeing to speak so candidly about the subject and offering to share their own experiences and opinions for the benefit of other professional players.  In particular Neil and Iain have chosen to discuss very personal information and have shown great courage in doing so.”

“Our partnership with SAMH and “see me” has also allowed us to develop our ability to inform players on mental health issues and provided us with initial expert guidance should it be required, and we express our gratitude towards them for this continuing relationship.”

Tony Higgins, who is Vice President of Board Europe at FIFPro, the World Players Union added “there will be great interest from other member unions’ within FIFPro regarding this initiative.  This problem is not confined to Scotland and affects players on a global basis; the example set by PFA Scotland will I’m sure be replicated in other countries.”

The film Mind Games can be viewed here:

*Please note that no reproduction, distribution or broadcast is permitted.  Failure to comply is a copyright infringement


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TH at FIFPro

FIFPro, the World Footballers’ Association is currently hosting a three day meeting of the UNI Sport Pro Steering Committee, bringing together leading player union representatives from a variety of professional sports.

The event which is being held in FIFPro House in Hoofddorp, features a wide range of speakers from organisations such as the National Hockey League Players Association (NHPLA, USA), National Football League Players Association (NFLPA, USA), along with international player union federations representing cricket (FICA) and rugby (IRPA).

UNI Sport Pro, a sector of UNI Global Union, facilitates the voices of worldwide player unions around different sports on matters such as match-fixing, anti-doping, player development, career transition, collective bargaining and much more.

Participants therefore have the opportunity to share best practice on how to improve labour relations in diverse international markets through effective methods of collective bargaining.  Discussions will also focus on the economic and labour market regulations of various sport industries and their impact on player rights and financial sustainability.

The economics of football, in relation to FIFPro’s announced challenge to the transfer system, will receive detailed attention with key contributions to be made by FIFPro Vice President Brendan Schwab and FIFPro’s Chief Legal Counsel Wil van Megen.

PFA Scotland President and member of FIFPro Board Division Europe Tony Higgins, will also present on the Don’t Fix It project currently being undertaken by nine FIFPro member countries, aimed at improving education and awareness on the issue of match fixing.


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As the football season approaches its run-in, Steven Naismith and Aiden McGeady will tomorrow (Wednesday 12th March) launch the voting for the PFA Scotland Player of the Year Awards.

Steven and Aiden, now team mates at Everton have both been recipients of awards in the past with Steven being voted PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year in 2007 when playing for Kilmarnock, while Aiden was voted both PFA Scotland Player and Young Player of the Year in 2008 for his outstanding performances for Celtic at that time.

All players across the four divisions will take part in the voting process, nominating the top players in their respective divisions, choosing the top young talent from across all four leagues and selecting the team of the year in their league.

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PFAScotland_LOGOAs part of it’s continued participation in the FIFPro/UEFA Don’t Fix It project, PFA Scotland has distributed relevant literature to its member players.

Each PFA Scotland Club Rep will receive information posters to display within the dressing room area and copies of the Code of Conduct devised by FIFPro in relation to the project.  All nine countries participating in the project received a generic Code of Conduct which they tailored specifically for their own players.

As a reminder, the Don’t Fix It Project is a work in partnership between FIFPro and UEFA with funding provided by the EC with the aim being to improve education and awareness on the issue of match fixing across European football.

Further information on the latest stage of the project and the Code of Conduct itself can be viewed by visiting the FIFPro website, and following the Don’t Fix It links.




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PFA Scotland today welcomed the news that Police Scotland are investigating the allegations that young East Stirling player Jordan Tapping was racially abused during the match at Peterhead on Saturday.

Racist abuse is unacceptable in any walk of life and is indeed a criminal offence and it is important that those who take part in such activities are brought to justice.  PFA Scotland Chief Executive Fraser Wishart is disappointed that the ugly spectre of racism has once again raised its head.

“We all have to fight against all forms of discrimination and racism has once again come to the fore this weekend. In addition to Jordan, a young student from Ghana was attacked in Glasgow this weekend. It is clear therefore that this is a blight that is not unique to football but an issue society in Scotland has to address and eradicate.”

“Football however has the prominence to influence and change minds. A football player’s workplace is of the field of play and he has the same rights as any other worker to a racist and discrimation free environment. Hopefully the culprits will be caught and taken to task; there is no place for racism in Scottish football grounds and those who do indulge in such abhorrent behaviour undermine the vast majority of good football suporters .”

“It is entirely unacceptable that any player, never mind a seventeen year old, has to leave the field of play due to the stress from racist abuse. It was welcoming to hear of the support Jordan received from players on both sides and that Jordan’s colleagues ensured that the referee was aware of the abuse and included it in his report.”

“We have spoken to our Club Representative David Greenhill at East Stirling and offered any support that Jordan requires. In addition Show Racism the Red Card, the most prominent anti racism campaign in Scotland, has also offered to support Jordan.”

PFA Scotland has been a supporter and sponsor of  Show Racism the Red Card since the anti racism campaign’s inception in 1996.

Wishart added “This shows that although Show Racism the Red Card continues to do terrific educational work we cannot afford to become complacent. It is vital therefore that Show Racism the Red Card continues to receive support from both government and football to carry on with its excellent work.”

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PFA Scotland is delighted to report the success of the recent two day CV and Career Planning course hosted for players.

The course was facilitated by funding from the Tom Maynard Trust (, in partnership with Sport Careers ( and was attended by eight current professional players in Scotland.

The aim of the two days was to provide players with a greater knowledge and understanding of career transition along with ensuring that they best prepare themselves for a career after their playing days are over.

Furthermore with expert guidance from David Chalmers at Sport Careers the players have created their own bespoke CV which highlights their current skills and qualifications and have developed an increased confidence with regards as to how best to use the CV.

Feedback from all participating players has been extremely positive, with the full list of attendees below:

Stephen O’Donnell (Dundee FC)

Barry Nicholson (Kilmarnock FC)

David Cox (Peterhead FC)

Mark Wilson (Dundee United FC)

James McPake (Hibernian FC)

Stephen McManus (Motherwell FC)

Darren Young (Alloa Athletic FC)

James Fowler (Kilmarnock FC)

PFA Scotland would like to thank all these players for their commitment to the course, and to Sport Careers for the guidance and service provided.

Finally, the contribution made to the course by the Tom Maynard Trust is greatly appreciated and a further example of their commitment to assist professional athletes prepare for career transition.

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