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CEO MESSAGE: Summer 2021

As we emerge from the restrictions of the pandemic there is a sense of optimism prevailing within the football industry that centres on the return to a more normal season, albeit one with modifications. It goes without saying that our sector will bring many adaptations into their normal practice since our members are at the forefront of working closely with players during treatment and rehabilitation sessions that obviously involve hands on work. Revised working practices however should be supported by an improvement in working conditions – infection control cannot be enhanced if the facilities are sub- standard and equipment is out dated or inadequate. The cost to clubs of investment in this area will be small but the long term benefits will be huge for everyone concerned.

The past few months have seen a significant rise in the number of disciplinary proceedings against members. Whereas once upon a time a complaint or issue would be dealt with a few words here and there, clubs are now following `procedure` in most cases. Even in seemingly trivial circumstances clubs are now instigating informal meetings, suspending staff while they conduct an enquiry, engaging in follow up meetings and then putting in place an action plan that either results in a members contract being terminated or a disciplinary being issued with some follow-up conditions.

While some would say this is to be welcomed (and justified) there is no question that this is a hugely stressful ordeal for any member of staff to go through. The need for support from the FMPA is paramount in these circumstances and we have been able to guide members through the process stage by stage and with the necessary legal guidance. Currently we are in discussion to secure the services of a union representative who will take members through this process and accompany them where necessary at meetings as well as conducting the necessary case preparations.

Finally we are delighted to announce ProMotion (Research & Development by Swellaway Ltd) as our new multi-year lead sponsor. Their product, ProMOTION EV1, was successfully launched at our recent virtual conference and has gone on to hit the headlines with a huge marketing campaign spearheaded by the FMPA. We very much look forward to working with ProMotion and their parent company Swellaway this coming season.

Eamonn Salmon