Taylor is credited with negotiating the biggest cash bonanza in football's history, when the English Premier League was created, but he has become unpopular with players in recent years.
On Wednesday, 27 March, after the PFA's annual general meeting in Manchester, Taylor, 74, agreed to step down.
In November last year more than 300 professional footballers — including ex-Premier League stars Chris Sutton, Robbie Savage and Ian Wright — signed an open letter calling on Taylor — who earns £2.29 million a year — to go.
Gordon Taylor’s and Theresa May’s forthcoming departures announced on the same day. Should we read anything into this?— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) 27 March 2019
A former winger with Bolton Wanderers and Birmingham City back in the 1960s, Taylor had been criticised for not doing enough to investigate links between dementia and football injuries, especially head injuries.
Among those who criticised him over the weekend was Dawn Astle, whose father Jeff Astle, a former West Bromwich Albion and England player, died of a degenerative brain disease in 2002.
End of an era?— Dan Roan (@danroan) 27 March 2019
PFA supremo Gordon Taylor arrives at today’s AGM in Manchester where he’s set to announce he’s standing down after 38 years in charge, in the wake of a revolt by ex players, and controversy over his £2.2m salary & governance issues.
Statement coming later pic.twitter.com/c3fshlluCA
The Jeff Astle Foundation said there had been a "scandalous" failure to research whether repeated heading of heavy leather balls was linked to brain injuries and dementia in later life.
Chris Sutton, who won the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers, said Taylor had failed former players like his father Mike, a former Norwich player, who is suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — a degenerative disease of the brain caused by repetitive brain trauma due to heading heavy balls in the 1960s.
"The PFA and the FA began research to try to establish a link between heading a football and CTE in 2001 but Taylor never flagged up that the testing had failed," Sutton wrote in the Daily Mail.
The PFA has agreed to a review of the organisation's governance and Taylor will stay on "to provide the necessary stability" until it is completed and his replacement has been recruited.
"I have given the majority of my life to the advancement of the PFA and I hope I have provided a platform for our continued success in the future. Every decision I have made has been in the interest of members and I believe the review will make the PFA — the oldest and most powerful sporting union in the world — even stronger. It will ensure we have the right structures in place to support our former, current and future members," Taylor said in a statement on the PFA's website.
The PFA said the current Chairman, Ben Purkiss, and Management Committee will also step down and Purkiss, a former Walsall player who had instigated the revolt against Taylor, has been banned from standing as chief executive for five years.
Spoke this evening to PFA chairman Ben Purkiss — whose challenge last year against Gordon Taylor eventually led to the chief exec announcing he was stepping down today.— Dan Roan (@danroan) 27 March 2019
But we now know Purkiss is having to stand down after an independent review as well. Here’s what he told me: pic.twitter.com/9pwzw6ADfn
"Last year I stated that the PFA needs to evolve otherwise there is a risk we get left behind. As Chairman of the PFA, I said publicly that we needed to review the governance of the organisation, and I welcome the fact that an independent review will now take place," said Purkiss.
In 2008 Taylor agreed a deal with the News of the World whereby he was paid £700,000 in "hush money" and in return agreed to keep quiet about the paper's phone-hacking campaign.
Taylor had sued the paper after learning they had hacked his mobile phone voicemail messages.
During the litigation he discovered through the notorious "for Neville" email, that he was not a lone victim but phone hacking was widespread at the paper.
Three years later investigative journalist Nick Davies exposed the phone-hacking scandal and Taylor's deal.