Professional Footballers’ Association

The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) has an important role in English football. It protects, improves and negotiates the conditions, rights and status of thousands of professional players – and has done so for over a century. Today, it is the longest-established professional sports union in the world, enabling its members to thrive.

The PFA is committed to providing excellent service to its members and has a comprehensive database which drives member communication, which includes regular mailings. It had used a non-AFD rapid address entry system for around 10 years, but the PFA recognised there were issues with the process and decided to work with AFD Software to put that right. PFA IT Director Jon Kilburn explained the background:



Problem Solved?

“We’d receive a call from a professional player wanting to join the PFA, and originally their details would be noted on a paper notepad and then typed into the database. Some member details were pretty scant, perhaps just a name and telephone number with no address. Then we started using address validation software and thought it would solve all our problems, but it didn’t. This was because not all our staff were able to access the address management tools.”


Jon Kilburn explained the impact on the organisation: “The PFA quarterly magazine ‘4 The Player’ is sent to all PFA members – it connects them to our services. We publish player interviews with personal stories that highlight how our services are being used.

Readers also find out about new initiatives, keep up-to-date with football news and get to see details of offers from our corporate partners such as LG and Virgin Atlantic Airways.

Before we signed up with AFD, hundreds of these magazines were being returned as “undeliverable” due to the poor quality of the address. The magazine is an important part of the member benefits package and we had to do everything possible to ensure each member received it, so we looked for a better solution.”



Getting to grips

Jonathan Stocks, AFD Data Quality Consultant, was asked to work with the PFA, and gave this advice: “The first step was to clean up the existing member address data, so the PFA purchased a license for AFD Refiner. This allowed the cleansing of data against the definitive Royal Mail Postcode Address File (PAF®) through a simple automated process.” He explained: “Goal-line technology determines precisely whether a goal was scored. Refiner can determine precisely if an address is accurate or not. If it can be cleaned automatically, that is what happens. If not, the user can use Refiner’s powerful interactive mode to find the precise address.”

Finishing the job

A particular issue for the PFA was that some addresses were either missing altogether or were so poor that they could not be safely corrected by AFD Refiner.

Jon Kilburn added: “The consequence was the time-consuming and expensive work of trying to get in touch with members by telephone or email to complete or correct their contact details. It took two months to confirm 2,000 member details – but we finished the job!”

Plugging the gaps with straightforward licensing

Jon continued: “Having brought order to our database – we were determined to maintain it. During our discussion with AFD Software, we identified the root cause of the address data issues. We then worked out how to ensure that all addresses entered by our team or by online applicants would be validated when we upgraded to AFD Postcode Plus.

With our previous address management software supplier, we found it complicated to add or change licenses. AFD were able to offer sound advice on licensing, making it straightforward for us to ‘plug the gaps.’”

Adding real value
Jonathan Stocks concluded: “I was delighted that we were able to add real value to the PFA. When they upgraded to AFD and increased the number of users by over 40 they were able to do so with no corresponding increase in cost.”

Would you like to make sure address validation is reaching each part of your organisation and that you are achieving maximum value?

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