While we wait for the Villa Fan Consultation Group (FCG) minutes to be passed through from the club for your attention, below are the minutes from the Football Supporters Federation (FSF) meeting of EFL club reps in London, that MOMS attended at the end of last month.
The meeting was on the eve of the upcoming transition of the FSF merging with Supporters Direct (SD), the organisation that supporters both supporter trusts and fan ownership of clubs.
The role of the new body was on the meeting’s agenda. Ultimately both institutions will continue to work under their existing names, but share resources and work hand-in-hand in representing supporters.
Also, high on the agenda was the impact of iFollow and the streaming services of games in the EFL, the question of having regulated concessionary pricing brackets, the notice given to fans when it comes to weather postponement and the issue of Structured Dialogue between fans and clubs.
Please find below the minutes supplied by the FSF. Any questions or if you want any elaboration, please do get in touch with MOMS on firstname.lastname@example.org
FSF EFL Fans Group Meeting
Monday 29thOctober 2018 (6.00pm) – The Wesley Hotel, London, NW1 2EZ
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
- New single organisation & representation on National Council
- Matters arising (FSF update)
- Stand Up For Choice
- Weather postponement
- Supporter Liaison Officers
- Rail fares
- Broadcast matters / iFollow / international streaming
- Concessionary ticketing
- Supporter engagement
- Watching Football Is Not A Crime!
- 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 22ndNov central London.
- Questions from MOH, DMin, DMic, 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.
Action – Share document showing the new structure of the organisation.
Matters arising (FSF update)
- Governance – MCl outlines work on governance proposals. These will be shared with the EFL on 14thNovember and presented to the FA Board on 27th
- Stand Up For Choice – (essentially the new name for Safe Standing) 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.
- 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 (Villa fans will remember the frustrations from the QPR postponement last season).
- Supporter Liaison Officers – DT rounds up his work. MB asks for any final nominations for SLO of the Year 2018 Award.
- 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.
Note for Villa fans – MOMS spotted a Virgin Train deal being advertised on the big screens in the Villa Park carparks last week. Apparently, the club will announce the details of it this week.
- iFollow / international streaming / broadcast matters
- DR outlines how clubs in L1/L2 are broadcasting Saturday 3pm kick-offs for the first time this season.
- 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.
- 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.
- AH says some Brentford fans have used VPN to bypass territorial licensing restrictions.
- DMic says Villa opted out of iFollow but the club’s own service is stripped back yet more expensive on an individual game basis than iFollow.
- NLM says away clubs selling the game get money which means the home club takes a double hit. Not economically sound.
- JC outlines his own research on attendances and doesn’t discern a pattern.
- RA says he understands you get £100,000 for being on Sky Sports but how much for appearing on the “red button”?
- DD believes we should push back on “terrible” customer service issues.
- TB points out that many televised fixtures are very difficult for travelling fans to attend.
Action – FSF to ask EFL how much clubs receive for appearing on the red button.
- Concessionary ticketing
- MB outlines current FSF view that a Young Adult category (U23) should be introduced.
- KG explains lack of consistency in current age brackets.
- AB says his research from a couple of seasons ago discovered 48 different price categories.
- DR suggests this is a good area to set-up a sub-group to explore campaign ideas.
- 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.
Action – FSF work with group to identify interested volunteers for sub-group.
- Supporter engagement
- 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.
- DR asks for examples of good practice.
- RA says HCST will not be involved as club has refused to engage.
- AB feels EFL need to have stronger sanctions. Current rules vague with no set penalties.
- AH says they rarely get CEO at meetings, usually comms / press officer.
- MD says things have been stop / start at Bradford City.
- 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.
Note to Villa fans – I’ve offered up the example of Villa’s Fan Consultation Group as ‘good practice’
- Watching Football Is Not A Crime!
- 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.
- 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.
Any groups involved in Football Policing Independent Advisory Groups (IAG) to report back to group on progress.
Note to Villa fans – MOMS is a member of the West Midlands Football Unit IAG