As members will be aware CAST is affiliated to the Football Supporters Association (FSA) which is the national body to represent supporters.
CAST were very grateful for the support and advice of the FSA last year when we were trying to communicate to the EFL the urgency of the impending crisis at our club and the dubious nature of some of the characters who were involved.
One of the most important roles of the FSA is to represent the views of supporters to the government and to the football authorities. There are a number of ways in which it does this and, as well as major public campaigns, it also seeks to exert influence through lobbying and consultation.
One such vehicle to improve understanding and communication is the bi-annual meeting between the EFL Executive and the FSA. This meeting is attended by FSA staff plus fan representatives from the three divisions of the EFL. We are very pleased that Heather Alderson of CAST was chosen to be one of the three representatives for League One at the January meeting.
The full minutes of the meeting can be accessed below but here are some examples from the discussion:
- Covid 20/21
"Mark Rowe stated that circumstances involved in postponements can vary greatly from Club to Club, and in respect of Covid postponements, there are any number of investigations ongoing. Once these investigations have concluded the EFL, where appropriate, would be happy to provide some further information on the process to the FSA."
"John Nagle acknowledged the point around the desire for objective criteria but outlined that there are a number of regional and public health considerations that vary from situation to situation and that public health has to take precedence over football regulations during a pandemic."
- Return of fans
"Andy Pomfret provided some context and outlined that the EFL had developed a template code of conduct with input from various sources and provided this for clubs to adapt for their local circumstances."
"Mark R owe welcomed the point and stated there was an opportunity to coordinate some form of collaboration between the EFL / FSA around the future return of fans."
- Financial rescue package
“John Nagle summarised EFL discussions with Government on financial support. Outlined that the EFL had put forward a number of ways in which Government could provide support, but the Government view remained that professional football in the EFL and Premier League should support itself."
“Niall Couper asked whether the Covid-response and financial bailout was, in effect, rewarding poorly run clubs”
"James Young stated that there was an overwhelming priority for the EFL and authorities to foster financial sustainability. He was of the view that there were some concerns around football finance preCovid and that financial issues at clubs should therefore not wholly be attributed to the pandemic."
"Trevor Birch confirmed embargo penalties were being relaxed due to the pandemic. Mark Rowan added that there were practical reasons around why embargoes weren’t communicated, adding that clubs can go in and out of embargo in a matter of hours." “Niall Couper stated that transfer embargo announcements would be welcomed no matter the frequency, as it would provide a greater level of transparency about club matters."
" Heather Alderson asked if the EFL was in favour of a “fan led review”. John Nagle responded that the EFL was very happy to contribute to reviews such as this as it had with the Government’s Expert Working Group on Supporter Ownership and Engagement, though did state there was an element of unknown still around what a “fan led review” actually constitutes."
- iFollow & Ticketing
"Mark Rowan added that, since its capacity uplift, iFollow has proven to be a reliable and hugely important service. Since the restart last season there had only been a couple of notable matchday disruptions but as this season has progressed, the platform has been stable and a significant success with match passes having generated over £16m gross revenue to date in the 2020/21 campaign (at the time of the meeting)."
"Mark Rowan outlined that the EFL remained of the view that taking the knee is a matter of choice for the players. Other activity is being looked at that supports the approach in this area."
"John Nagle indicated that the EFL intended to review its approach to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion issues in the near future He also Invited the FSA to engage in conversations in this matter to which Kevin Myles responded the FSA would be very happy to be consulted."
Full minutes of the meeting can be seen here: