Protecting Club Identity – Supporters Summit at Wembley, July 25 and 26

The home shirt colour and badge change by Cardiff City’s owner and the attempted name change at Hull City provided examples of how owners – who make massive investments into football clubs – think that they can just run roughshod over the tradition and history without proper consultation with fans.

The panellists on the workshop, ‘Protecting Club Identity’ were Chris Cooper (City til I die – Hull City), Brian Mertens (CCST), Mark Harris (Evo-Stick League) and Clive Efford MP (Shadow Sports Minister).

There was an excellent debate with contributions from Malcolm Clarke (FSF, FA Council rep), various Trusts and a description of how the Portuguese Leagues control what owners can do.

Clive Efford explained that he is leading a cross-party investigation into these very matters, but he warned that involving politicians can result in the wrong solution for most.

Not all owners refuse to consult with supporter groups but rules were needed that clearly state what can and can’t be changed.

The FA could change its rules so that club owners would have to fully consult its supporters before making significant changes, but it would require a 75% vote in favour! ‘Turkeys voting for Christmas’ was mentioned!

Malcolm Clarke asked that we send our proposed rule changes to him and he will put these forward.

The end result of these discussions was that we can tackle these problems through political changes, FA rules or we as Trusts could do something ourselves.

A kite system where clubs are fully consulting with their fans, could be awarded by Supporters Direct and this could be seen by clubs as ‘a badge of honour’ which could be lost if they failed in the future.

This is a debate that will roll on until something satisfactory results.

Brian Mertens

Cardiff City Supporters Trust Liaison Officer