Football Supporters Federation EFL Fans Group Meeting
By Rob Nichols
Wednesday 14 Nov 2018 18:22:00
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These are the official minutes of the Football Supporters Federation Fan Group meeting held in London at the end of October. It was superbly well attended and great to be able to swap information and ideas between fans of so many clubs. Between rushing for trains.

I was able to contribute several points to the agenda but with there being so many fans present it is hard to make too much noise in the meeting.

I did ask on AOB that we look to have a £30 maximum away ticket as several clubs in the Championship are now charging way over Premier maximum levels. This showed the pluses and minuses of an EFL meeting as for nearly everyone sitting around the table, £30 away cost is a complete irrelevance as they will never be forced to pay anything like that in their divisions.

The start of the agenda was discussing changes in fan governance in the game with the two national fan bodies now uniting so there is now one voice speaking up for all fans. Previously it was the Football Supporters Federation and Supporters Direct, representing fans buying shares and trying to take part in running football clubs as Trusts or with share representation on boards.

To the meeting then.


Monday 29th October 2018 (6.00pm) – The Wesley Hotel, London, NW1 2EZ


Agenda


  1. New single organisation & representation on National Council

  2. Matters arising (FSF update)

    1. Stand Up For Choice

    2. Weather postponement

    3. Supporter Liaison Officers

    4. Rail fares

  3. Broadcast matters / iFollow / international streaming

  4. Concessionary ticketing

  5. Supporter engagement

  6. Watching Football Is Not A Crime!

  7. AOB



  1. New organisation


  1.  
    1. KM explains new organisation structure outlining how affiliates, associates and individuals can engage with the democratic structure providing opportunities for all stakeholders. The EGM will take place 22nd Nov central London.

    2. Questions from MOH, DMin, TB, MJ, CJ, and AB pertaining to structure of new organisation. KM outlines who will qualify as an affiliate within the new structure and how the personnel on each network will change subject to promotions/relegations. Affiliates will have five votes at the AGM under the new structure, associates will have one and individuals one.

      1. Action – Share document showing the new structure of the organisation.


  1. Matters arising (FSF update)


  1.  
    1. Governance – MCl outlines work on governance proposals. These will be shared with the EFL on 14th November and presented to the FA Board on 27th November.

    2. Stand Up For Choice – KM outlines EFL support and explains progress since April 2018. There has been a review which is preparing a basis for change in legislation. Details will be released in the New Year (2019). MJ encourages lobbying of the Sports Ground Safety Authority and KM outlines our work in that area.

    3. Weather postponement – MB outlines action from last meeting and the EFL promise to look into producing a video on postponement guidelines to make the information more digestible, along with a guidance document.

    4. Supporter Liaison Officers – DT rounds up his work. MB asks for any final nominations for SLO of the Year 2018 Award.

    5. Rail fares – AJ outlines how British Transport Police and Rail Operating Companies focus’ seems to have shifted from working with fans on consumer issues (e.g. our hope for ‘Fan Fare’ initiative) to more punitive security led approach. MH says he is a conductor who used to fear fans but that isn’t the case anymore. DT works as rail union rep and says occasional violent incidents do put up barriers with rail execs. MJ asked whether it would be possible to approach coach associations / motorway services etc.


  1. iFollow / international streaming / broadcast matters


  1.  
    1. DR outlines how clubs in L1/L2 are broadcasting Saturday 3pm kick-offs for the first time this season.

    2. MOH says that FSF policy is to support 3pm blackout and that must be reiterated in strongest possible terms to EFL. MOH feels EFL misled delegates at the last meeting.

    3. KG says around 50% of her club’s fans are happy for games to be streamed, many are exiles etc. GTFC pushed the concept heavily when they were on the road but are not doing so when they are at home.

    4. AH says some Brentford fans have used VPN to bypass territorial licensing restrictions.

    5. DMic says Villa opted out of iFollow but the club’s own service is stripped back and more expensive than iFollow.

    6. NLM says away clubs selling the game get money which means the home club takes a double hit. Not economically sound.

    7. JC outlines his own research on attendances and doesn’t discern a pattern.

    8. RA says he understands you get £100,000 for being on Sky Sports but how much for appearing on the “red button”?

    9. DD believes we should push back on “terrible” customer service issues.

    10. TB points out that many televised fixtures are very difficult for travelling fans to attend.

      1. Action – FSF to ask EFL how much clubs receive for appearing on the red button.


  1. Concessionary ticketing

    1. MB outlines current FSF view that a Young Adult category (U23) should be introduced.

    2. KG explains lack of consistency in current age brackets.

    3. AB says his research from a couple of seasons ago discovered 48 different price categories.

    4. DR suggests this is a good area to set-up a sub-group to explore campaign ideas.

    5. DMin notes discrepancy in away ticket pricing in the Championship and asked why this cannot be capped in line with Premiership clubs? Agreed this required further investigation and would be included within the scope of the sub-group.

      1. Action – FSF work with group to identify interested volunteers for sub-group.


  1. Supporter engagement

    1. DD outlines top-line Structured Dialogue survey results: 85% supporter groups are meeting with clubs twice per year. 82% meeting the right people. 25% of clubs are not showing suitable levels of information. There will be a comparative analysis in relation to last year’s statistics.

    2. DR asks for examples of good practice.

    3. RA says HCST will not be involved as club has refused to engage.

    4. AB feels EFL need to have stronger sanctions. Current rules vague with no set penalties.

    5. AH says they rarely get CEO at meetings, usually comms / press officer.

    6. MD says things have been stop / start at Bradford City.

    7. KG – The EFL say only one club has failed to meet expectations but the only meeting they have had is with the Trust / manager rather than owner / CEO / chairman.


  1. Watching Football Is Not A Crime!

    1. AJ outlines cases which are currently being processed including a young fan who claims he was racially profiled by stewards / security who has been awarded £10,000 by court. On-going legal aspects to this case. Another fan (Charlton Athletic) had his fingers broken at a game by stewards and has been awarded £10,000 for injury / false imprisonment after throwing a scarf on the pitch. A Bristol City fan had his elbow broken at an away game and this is going through legal process. There is also a current review of stewarding which the FSF is engaged with.

    2. AJ explains background to Football Policing Independent Advisory Groups and encourages fans to get involved in one exists in their area, and to encourage local force to organise such if it doesn’t. CJ outlines Sky Blues Trust engagement with WMP which has been positive.

      1. Any groups involved in Football Policing Independent Advisory Groups to report back to group on progress.

In attendance:


Adam Hobbs (AH) - Brentford Independent Association of Supporters

Alan Bloore (ABl) - Barnsley Supporters Trust

Ashley Browne (ABr) – Supporters Direct

Amanda Jacks (AJ) - FSF

Barry Dewing (BD) - Pompey Independent Supporters Association

CJ Joiner (CJ) - Sky Blue Trust

Danial Pratt (DP) - Gills Independent Supporters' Club

Dave Tomlinson (DT) - The Railwaymen

David Little (DL) - Swansea City Supporters Trust

David Michael (DMic) – My Old Man Said

David Minckley (DMin) - Brentford Independent Association of Supporters

David Rose (DR) - FSF

Deborah Dilworth (DD) - SD

Jeremy Gardner (JG) - QPR 1st Supporters' Trust

John Cosh (JC) - N/A

Kevin Miles (KM) - FSF

Kristine Green (KG) - Mariners Trust

Lloyd Briscoe (LB) - Stevenage FC Supporters' Association

Malcolm Clarke (MCl) - Stoke City Supporters Club

Malcolm Cole (MCo) - Colchester United Supporters Association

Malcolm Hirst (MH) - Port Vale Supporters Club

Manny Dominguez (MD) - Bradford City Supporters' Trust

Mark Jordan (MJ) - Blackpool Whites

Martin O'Hara (MOH) - Vikings Supporters' Co-Operative

Michael Brunskill (MB) - FSF

Micky Simpson (MSim) - Association of Millwall Supporters

Micky Singh (MSin) – Blues 4 All

Mike Heaps (MH) - Colchester United Supporters Association

Neil Le Milliere (NLM) - Exeter City Supporters Trust

Richard Wiseman (RW) - Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust

Rick Duniec (RD) - Leeds United Supporters Trust

Rob Nichols (RN) - Middlesbrough Fans Forum

Roger Groves (RG) - Shrewsbury Town Supporters' Parliament

Russell Anson (RA) - Hull City Supporters Trust

Teddy Bellamy (TB) - Millwall Supporters’ Club

Tim Hillyer (TH) - Dons Supporters Trust

Tony Wilkinson (TW) – Blackpool Supporters’ Trust


 


 



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