Feasibility study on creating Supporters Direct Cymru

Trust chair Tim Hartley reports on the key points of discussion from a meeting of the England and Wales council of Supporters Direct (SD).

  • SD and the FSF (Football Supporters Federation) have been working a new Memorandum of Understanding to spell out which areas each organisation is responsible for. It was felt however, that there should be joint lobbying on certain issues e.g. football licencing.
  • SD gets the bulk of its money from the Premier League’s Fans Fund and reports back twice a year on progress against its targets. Here are some of the headlines for the last 12 months: 126 football trusts in England and Wales with 348,686 members. More than 100 trusts have had an hour or more of support from SD. Two new trusts and three new clubs have been formed. 8 training sessions for trust members have been held as well as 7 regional meetings.
  • SD has carried out casework at Lincoln, Neath RU, Cheltenham, Reading and Forest Green Rovers.
  • Two highlights of the Community Share schemes SD is working on are: Lewes FC raising £200,000 for a new 43G pitch and Wycombe Wanderers aiming to raise £500,000 to refinance the club.
  • The Expert Working Group was launched at Portsmouth on  October 21. SD is keen to ensure that the terms of reference remain focussed on removing barriers to ownership and structured fans engagement. The Group is chaired by Joanna Manning Cooper. Other members are the Premier League, Football League, Football Association and Supporters Direct and representatives from the Portsmouth, Wrexham, Wimbledon and Swansea Trusts. The group will tackle different issues such as tax and insolvency at each meeting and should report by March 2015.
  • The Welsh Government has offered to fund a feasibility study for the creation of SD Cymru. Robin Osterley and Tim Hartley are outing the proposal together. Tim is also arranging a visit to Merthyr Town for the new Sport Minister, Ken Skates.
  • SD has helped list 29 grounds as assets of community value. There are 15 more applications in the pipeline. Tim is making the case for the WG to reverse its decision not to offer the right to list grounds in Wales.
  • SD will produce its own manifesto in advance for next year’s General Election and urge the main parties to adopt its proposals.
  • It was noted that there is little information on clubs websites about SLOs. SD is working with the FSF on a training module for all SLOs.
  • We are keen to get guidance from the Local Government Association to ensure a fan sits on every council’s Safety Advisory Group.
  • The ‘Watching football is not a crime’ seminar was well attended. Blanket measures are still being used against fans rather than the police targeting individuals.