This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. Please help improve it by removing promotional content and inappropriate external links, and by adding encyclopedic content written from a neutral point of view. (July 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Brendan Schwab [ˈbɹendən ʃwaːb] (born 10 March 1968) is an Australian sports administrator, trade union official, and lawyer who specialises in labour law, human rights law, collective bargaining, and dispute resolution with a particular focus on professional team sports. On 1 July 2015, he was appointed the Executive Director of the World Players Association,[1] based in Nyon, Switzerland, as an autonomous sector of UNI Global Union.[2]

The World Players Association (World Players) represents 85,000 players across professional sport through more than 100 player associations in over 60 countries under the #WorldPlayersUnited strategy.[3] World Players has been particularly active in ensuring the fundamental human rights of the athletes and everyone involved in the delivery of world sport are protected, respected, and upheld in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). In particular:

Before relocating to Nyon, Schwab served as a Vice President and board member of FIFPro, the world footballers' union based in the Netherlands. He was also Chairman of FIFPro Asia/Oceania, which represents player associations in Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Palestine and New Zealand.[15]

In 2002, he became one of FIFPro's inaugural nominees to the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) and was reappointed in 2009 for a four-year term. In this role, Schwab regularly attended hearings in Zürich as a part of a panel to adjudicate disputes between professional footballers and clubs. In 2013, he stepped down from the DRC to join the FIFA Players' Status Committee which is charged with making recommendations to the FIFA Executive Committee on regulations that affect professional footballers.[16] He served as one of six player nominees on this Committee until 2016, assisting in introducing reforms to protect players against overdue wages,[17] and developing a FIFA ban on the ownership of player transfer rights by third parties.[18] Schwab worked alongside FIFA Vice President Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan to lift a ban imposed by FIFA on female footballers wearing the hijab during football matches.[19]

In 1993, he co-founded the Australian Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) which represents Australia's elite professional footballers playing in Australia and around the world. He was the long serving Chief Executive and General Counsel of the PFA, overseeing the progression of the PFA and the growth of Australian football over a 20-year period.[20][21][22] In 2016, Schwab was appointed as non-executive chairman of the PFA.[23]

In mid 2012, he stepped down as CEO of the PFA and established International Player Relations (IPR),[24] a specialist legal, advocacy and advisory firm, which focused on promoting cooperation and innovation between employees and employers.

Schwab is also a co-founder of the Australian Athletes’ Alliance (AAA), and was the chief architect of the body's charter of athletes rights.[25] AAA represents eight player unions and over 3,500 athletes in sports such as AFL,[26] basketball, rugby union, rugby league, cricket, netball, horse racing (jockeys) and, of course, football. He acted as the AAA’s part-time General Secretary from 2009 until June 2015.[27][28]

Since 1992, he has forged a close professional relationship with Braham Dabscheck, Australia's leading academic on the industrial relations aspects of professional team sports. In 1998, they undertook an organisational review of the AFL Players' Association which transformed that body.[29] In 2012, they assisted the Rugby League Players' Association in the negotiation of a new five-year collective bargaining agreement following the sport's record broadcast rights agreement.[30]

Schwab has also held non-executive positions on the board of an industry super fund, the peak body for Australia's symphony orchestras and has been a director and Vice President of the AFL Club Richmond.[31] He has also held senior positions in the entertainment industry, such as being the CEO of Live Performance Australia from 2003 - 2006 and representing media and entertainment employers at the International Labor Organisation in Geneva in 2004.

He is a vocal campaigner in media circles with a particular focus on football matters, but he also focuses on broader athlete issues such as drugs in sport, match fixing, industrial relations, and player welfare and development.[32][33] He provided evidence before Senate Hearings into ASADA in 2013 and Australian soccer in 1995 and is a regular presenter at industry conferences and sports law seminars. In February 2013, he was a guest speaker at the FIFA/Interpol Conference on Match Fixing in Malaysia.[34] In 2015, Schwab spoke on the role of organised athletes in promoting the good governance of sport at the prestigious Play the Game conference in Denmark and at FIFPro's legal legends conference in Amsterdam.[35][36] In 2016, he presented on the importance of athlete unionisation in world sport at the fall symposium on corruption in sport conducted by the Maryland Journal of International Law at the University of Maryland.[37] He is presently addressing the importance of embedding internationally recognised human rights of athletes and others involved in the delivery of sport.[38][39]

Schwab holds a Bachelor of Laws and Master of Business Administration. He is married with four children. He is the son of the late Alan Schwab, who was a prominent sports administrator and VFL commissioner, and the brother of Cameron Schwab, who is the former chief executive officer of the Melbourne Football Club.[24]


  1. ^ "World Players Association: About". UNI Global Union. Archived from the original on 6 April 2019. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Brendan Schwab appointed new Head of UNI World Athletes". UNI Global Union. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  3. ^ "#WorldPlayersUnited: World Players Association unveils strategy to place the players at the centre of world sport". UNI Global Union. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  4. ^ "World Players Association launches Universal Declaration of Player Rights". UNI Global Union. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Alliance of sports unions release a "Universal Declaration of Player Rights"". HardballTalk. 14 December 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  6. ^ "IOC strengthens its stance in favour of human rights and against corruption in new Host City Contract". International Olympic Committee. 9 August 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  7. ^ e.V., Transparency International. "UEFA INCORPORATES HUMAN RIGHTS & ANTI-CORRUPTION CRITERIA INTO BIDDING REQUIREMENTS". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  8. ^ "Binding players' rights commitment –"the first step to protecting the integrity of sport": World Players Association". UNI Global Union. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  9. ^ (8 June 2017). "FIFA publishes landmark Human Rights Policy". Archived from the original on 21 June 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  10. ^ "Overview". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Mega-Sporting Events |". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  12. ^ "Institute for Human Rights and Business". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  13. ^ Sporting Chance Principles
  14. ^ "Advisory Council". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  15. ^ "FIFPro Asia wants closer AFC links". Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  16. ^
  17. ^ (23 May 2017). "Improvements in efficiency in player and club overdue payables". Archived from the original on 25 April 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  18. ^ (30 October 2014). "Work towards TPO ban continues". Archived from the original on 3 May 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  19. ^ "FIFPro World Players' Union". Archived from the original on 8 March 2014.
  20. ^ "A true champion of the game | : The World Game". Archived from the original on 9 January 2015.
  21. ^ "FIFPro Supports Players". Australian Professional Footballers' Association. Retrieved 15 April 2009.
  22. ^ Lynch, Michael (4 May 2012). "What a shame if Schwab is lost to the game". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  23. ^ "Schwab Appointed PFA Chairman - Professional Footballers Australia". Professional Footballers Australia. 20 October 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  24. ^ a b Lynch, Michael (18 April 2012). "Schwab quits players' union". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  25. ^ "AAA Launches Charter of Athletes' Rights and Policy Platform | Australian Athletes' Alliance". Archived from the original on 10 March 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  26. ^ "Brendan Schwab urges AFL to establish independent body". 26 July 2014.
  27. ^ "Australian Athletes Alliance's Brendan Schwab calls for AFL players' integrity unit". 23 July 2014.
  28. ^ "Prendergast Takes Lead Role at Australian Athletes' Alliance | Australian Athletes' Alliance". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  29. ^ "The 10 key moments in the AFLPA's 40 years".
  30. ^ Schwab, Braham Dabscheck and Brendan (1 December 2012). "Vale the professional sportsman's best friend". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  31. ^ "Q&A with Brendan Schwab".
  32. ^ "Why Australian sports must cut ties with WADA". 15 June 2014.
  33. ^ The Ticket: Cricket without the Players 04/07/2017, 4 July 2017, retrieved 14 September 2018
  34. ^ "FIFPro Asia spoke at Interpol match-fixing conference - FIFPro World Players' Union". Archived from the original on 22 August 2014.
  35. ^ "Presentations from Play the Game 2015". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  36. ^ "FIFPro: Legal Legends in Sport and the Future of Sports Law" (PDF).
  37. ^ "Maryland Journal of International Law | Academic Journals | University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  38. ^ "ANZLA Conference speakers".
  39. ^ "Asser Sports Law Conference: Speakers".