New Zealand Football confirmed on Friday the signing of a new three-year collective agreement with the New Zealand Professional Footballers Association (PFA).
Running until the end of 2017, the new agreement locks in a number of financial, commercial and player welfare initiatives which safeguard the interests of both New Zealand Football and the players representing their country on the international stage.
New Zealand Football CEO Andy Martin said the agreement comes at the perfect time for the game in this country.
“We’ve worked closely with the PFA on this and we’re delighted to have secured this agreement at this time,” Martin said.
“We’re now in a position where we can plan with certainty around a number of commercial and logistical aspects of our international programme.
“These are vital ingredients in our push to continue to develop and grow the profile of football in New Zealand for the benefit of everyone involved in our game – especially our top players.”
Martin says a key feature of the agreement sees the provision of an extensive player welfare programme, a first for football in New Zealand, to be led by former All Whites defender Ben Sigmund – which will include guidance to players on establishing a career after their retirement from the game.
The agreement also introduces a programme designed to monitor and support players’ mental wellbeing – an initiative prompted by worldwide research undertaken by FIFPro, the worldwide association of player unions.
“The inclusion of the player welfare provision in the agreement is an important step which will help provide our players with an element of long-term security as they can prepare for life after football,” Martin said.
“The mutually beneficial agreement we have reached demonstrates the excellent relationship we have with our Professional Footballers Association and we look forward to working together to achieve great things on the world stage in the next few years.”
NZPFA chairman Harry Ngata said that the professional players were looking forward to working with New Zealand Football over the next World Cup cycle.
“It is important to players that their views are heard, and that their interests are protected by their national body. We are happy that, through this agreement, we will be working with New Zealand Football to protect those interests, and maximise the prospects for success on the field.”