Supporters Direct want your help – complete their survey here

CAS Trust has received the following request for help from our umbrella body - Supporters Direct: 

We need your help – experience, expertise & contacts sought to follow up Expert Working Group opportunities.

A month has passed since the Government’s Expert Working Group on football supporter ownership and engagement report was published. This time has given us a chance to discuss the recommendations with members and at network meetings, and prepare our next move.

And now we need your help!

Whilst we are pleased with the commitments that made the EWG report, we want it to act as a springboard to further changes to improve football in England and Wales.

We are approaching the report in two ways:

1. Making sure the recommendations from the EWG are effectively implemented

We recommend that you read the full report  but have picked out a few highlights of what has been agreed and committed for supporter involvement and ownership:

Supporter Involvement

Structured dialogue at a local level

For season 2016/17 clubs playing in the Premier League, Championship, FL1 and FL2 must:

  • Meet with a Supporters Trust as part of a representative group of supporters at least twice a year to discuss major issues
  • Put forward suitable senior representatives from clubs such as owners, directors, senior executives for the meeting
  • Share a minimum level of information at the meetings (to still be determined by the football authorities)

Structured dialogue at a national level

  • The football authorities commit to meet with supporters groups who have concerns over the governance standards of the way their club is run

Supporter Ownership

More resource for supporter ownership bids

  • A new fund will be created for Supporters Trusts to apply for professional fees to prepare a bid to own the club if the owner consents to listen to a bid or if the club is in crisis

Changes to FL insolvency rules to encurage supporter ownership

  • For season 2016/17 if a FL club is in administration the administrator must meet with a supporters trust within 21 days of their appointment and provide it with an opportunity to bid for the club

Support for tax incentives for a supporter owned clubs

  • EWG support for SD’s COSC proposal which would see recognition for supporter owned clubs benefiting from rate relief, giftaid and corporation tax breaks

We have already started, and will continue to call on the membership to get these commitments over the line. 

2.  Revisiting and re-energising areas that weren’t adequately addressed by the EWG

The ‘consensus’ nature of the EWG gave us a chance to negotiate and secure commitment for changes that will benefit supporters who believe in supporter involvement and supporter ownership. However it also meant that in a number of areas the recommendations didn’t go far enough. The Terms of Reference too, didn’t stretch to everything we wanted to table. That is mightily frustrating, but it makes us even hungrier to regroup, identify, evidence and lobby for further changes which will benefit English football.

Whilst stopping short of a recommendation, throughout the report there are comments which recognise some of the proposals that were put forward by SD and the membership, and in places leave the door open to changes.

It is important that we rise to the challenge of turning these words into something worthwhile.

So what now?

In the past you’ve written submissions, attended Westminster events, lobbied your MP or spoken out in the media. All of which has led to the changes we are starting to see. We know you’ve only got so much time to devote, so we want to be clever in how we can use your time, skills and connections to keep making progress.

So it starts with a survey…

We have picked out a few key questions that need answering, and where we sense we have an opportunity to make progress.

Please don’t feel obliged to respond to all (or any) of the questions, they are deliberately targeted to address specific issues. However if you have ideas, relevant experiences to draw on, or can offer contacts or support to find a solution, we’d love to hear from you.

The first topics we are seeking your help with are:

  • the F.A. Governance review and the role of supporters within it
  • the Owners and Directors Test
  • protecting football grounds from club mismanagement
  • strengthening football regulation to prevent club financial crisis
  • protecting supporter shareholdings
  • independent non-executive directors on football club boards

There may be topics that you think we’ve missed (we do have a long list!), so please add these at the end of the survey so that we can see if other priorities emerge. Even if resources leave us stretched we can match up interests, partners, and provide support as best we can.

Once we’ve digested the results we anticipate special interest groups to be formed around each topic - co-ordinated and supported by SD - and we will be in touch with people who have offered support.

The survey will close at midnight on Thursday 3rd March, and we will feed back progress through the monthly newsletter.

You can access the survey at the link below