CHAMPIONSHIP TO REDUCE TO 20 TEAMS, MAYBE.

SUPPORTERS SUMMIT, WEMBLEY STADIUM, 16th JULY 2016

The Trust was represented at the Summit but as there was a singleton representative only selected sessions can be reported on and because of the wide ranging discussions the major issues will be highlighted.

OPENING PLENARY

Question and answer session with new EFL Chair – Ian Lenagan and Guardian Journalist Owen Gibson, focusing in particular on the proposals for the new EFL league restructure and the introduction of PL U21 teams into the EFL Cup trial.

• The new name English Football League has been created to remove any misunderstanding.
• There will be autumn and spring meetings between the EFL and Supporters Direct and Football Supporters Federation.
• EFL will operate a “secret shopper” campaign looking at the away facilities at all EFL Clubs,
• EFL restructure known as The Whole Game Solution. This has been brought about by the fixture problems created by UEFA expanding its TV coverage of all matches making it difficult to fix mid-week dates that do not clash. The idea is to increase the EFL to 4 divisions of 20 teams. This will be discussed by clubs for one year and will fail if 8 of the 72 clubs oppose the idea.
• The EFL Trophy plans to include 16 of the 24 Category 1 Academies was brought about by the withdrawal of the previous sponsors coupled with the view that teams either wanted to go out in the 1st round or get to the final and that attendances were down by 18% and income by 15%.
EFL believes the introduction of Category 1 teams comprising 6 U21 players and 5 Seniors will re-invigorate the competition and so it will be trialled for 1 year. The EFL assured fans this was not the “thin end of the wedge” enabling future inclusion of B teams.
• The EFL are supportive of ruling concerning Stadium Accessibility as required but cannot commit to implementing the guidelines by 2017 for all EFL clubs.

STRUCTURED DIALOGUE BETWEEN CLUBS AND SUPPORTERS.

A recap from James Mathie on SD’s campaign to ensure a minimum level of communication and consultation between supporters and leaders of clubs. Premier League and Football League clubs now both have obligations for 2016/17, this workshop will look at what they are, and how we can continue to work together to improve and develop the commitments that have been made.

• Clubs should meet with fans groups twice a year to discuss important issues or needs and that where a Supporters Trust exists it must be invited.
• The level of representation from the Club should include owners or, in the case of overseas owners, their CEOs and other Club Board members.
• Still need to define a supporters group, for example does a website / fanzine qualify?
• Policing of the policy may be difficult at certain Clubs where all relationships have broken down

SAFE STANDING

There was a live link to Celtic prior to their friendly with Wolfsburg to discuss the work involved in installing the Rail Seats and to see them filling up pre-match.

• The Safe-Standing campaign has been on hold until the outcome of the Hills borough campaign was known.
• There will now be a delay in the campaign in order to see how it works out at Celtic.
• It is suggested that where fans are interested in getting such a facility at their own grounds they should suggest their Club contact Celtic and see for themselves.
• The Celtic scheme has not increased capacity.

HILLSBOROUGH JUSTICE CAMPAIGN

We will hear from prominent people involved in the Hillsborough Justice Campaign.

• A moving account from Roy Bentham who was at Hillsborough, he was one of those lifted out of the pen, and was involved in the campaign.
• He discussed the trauma of those involved.

CREATING CHANGE – SCRUTINY, PROTEST & PRESSURE.

Looking at the different roles Trusts play when there is conflict between clubs and their supporters. From protesting for a change in ownership to professional, credible scrutineering of decisions made in the interests of the club, Trusts play a varied and important role in creating change. Three Trusts (Blackpool, Newcastle United and Charlton) will discuss their current position and past experiences followed by a Q&A session.

SD KITE-MARK

Developing a set of simple standards for professional sports clubs to demonstrate their commitment to their supporters and community. This session offers the chance for delegates to discuss the important attributes that make up a well-run club with Martin Cloake from THST and SD’s James Mathie.

WHAT IS THE SECRET TO A GOOD SUPPORTER-LED CAMPAIGN?

With a focus on the Olympic Stadium Coalition and the Dons Trust ‘back in two ticks’ ground sale campaigns, we hear from key people involved (including Kat Law from THST, Richard Hunt from CAST, Jeremy Gardner from QPR 1st, Jane Lonsdale Dons Trust and SD’s Nicola Hudson) to find out the secrets of their success, and will discuss the learnings for future campaigns and collaboration.

FAN CULTURE

A chance to get an insight into the workings behind the voice of the fan media, with input from the traditional (The City Gent, Bradford fanzine) and the new (The Fighting Cock, Spurs podcast and The Anfield Wrap, Liverpool podcast) on what motivates them to do what they do. A perfect opportunity for creative fans to get together, and existing fanzine writers or podcasters or vloggers to network and share their experiences.

FANS FOR DIVERSITY

An update on the Fans For Diversity project from FSF Diversity and Campaigns Manager Anwar Uddin on the work undertaken in 2015/16, and plans for the coming year. Pride in Football will also be on the panel, presenting their work and updating fans on the situation with regards to LGBT fan groups and campaigns across the country.

THE NATIONAL GAME & NON-LEAGUE

The Premier League gets all the attention, but there’s a huge amount going on across the country that goes unreported. This workshop is an ideal place for fans from the lower leagues to come together and discuss the issues that affect them and their clubs, with input from Mike Bayly (Non-League Day), Mark Harris (EvoStik League Chairman) and Tim Fuell (Media officer, Hayes and Yeading).

TICKET PRICES

Michael Brunskill from the FSF will lead a discussion on the work undertaken in the ticket price campaign - successes in the form of the £30 Premier League away ticket cap, as well as taking soundings on how best to tackle the issue throughout the Football League.