Trust Chair Reports To Members On the 1st Supporters’ Liaison Meeting Of 2023-24

Trust chair Keith Morgan reports on the first Supporters’ Liaison meeting of the 2023-24 season which took place at the Cardiff City Academy at Llanrumney and commenced with a tour by Steve Borley. This gave members of the group a first opportunity to view the impressive facilities that have been created in partnership with Cardiff University, Cardiff Council and House of Sport. Trust board members had already been afforded an opportunity of a guided tour a week or so earlier but it was still useful nevertheless. 

A number of issues were discussed at the meeting and here is a summary of some important items:

Tragedy Chanting 

There is a momentum in football whereby the clubs in partnership with the Police are clamping down on “Tragedy Chanting”. This is the distasteful incidence of chanting by fans that makes light of a past footballing disasters or fatal accidents. Liverpool supporters have endured chants relating to Hillsborough on multiple occasions during the 2022/23 season. Tragedy chants could be heard by both Manchester United and Leeds United fans during a game between the sides earlier this year. The chants referred to the Munich air disaster and the murders of two Leeds fans in Istanbul. Cardiff fans, in the past, have been subjected to chants relating to Aberfan and, more recently, the tragic death of Emiliano Sala. This initiative is not confined just to chanting but also includes a ban on provocative banners, flags and clothing.

The club have now included the following in their Customer Charter.

“Cardiff City Football Club will not tolerate “Tragedy Chanting” and it wants our fans to understand the impact it has on family, friends, and football supporters in general. Those closely associated with loss and tragedy and many other fans can become deeply distressed when hearing such chants and it is therefore totally unacceptable behaviour!  

We advise that offenders will be sanctioned by the Club, in accordance with our Ground Regulations, Customer Charter, Code of Conduct and Club Sanction Policy. Incidents are also likely to be Investigated by the Police for such chanting and associated negative behaviour is now considered a Public order offence.  

It is also important to note that fans who engage in ‘Tragedy Chanting’ or attempt to enter the stadium with flags, banners, or clothing that could be seen as offensive will be refused entry to or be ejected from Cardiff City matches Home or Away following agreement with fellow clubs.  Thereafter behaviour WILL be considered for further action as identified above.” 

Contravention of this element of the code will be considered to be a Level 3 breach of the code i.e. Matters dealt with by the Police and / Or Stewards that may lead to arrest or summons. These transgressions will result in a Medium Club Ban.

The Trust very much supports this initiative and we hope that this element of the Customer Charter will never need to be enforced.

Season Ticket Update 

It was announced that season ticket sales so far had reached 13,900. Club officials pronounced themselves happy at this figure given the poor season we had last year, the cost of living crisis etc. This figure is more than at this stage last year and is not far short of last season’s total of 14,500 which included half season tickets.

Fans’ Advisory Board 

Members will recall from articles in the Trust Magazine “Moving to a Different Beat” that we have been very much involved at a national level in the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance. One of the recommendations of this review, now included in a Government White Paper with cross-party support, is the formation of Fans Advisory Boards to enhance Fan Engagement and give fans more of a voice. In the case of Cardiff City, such a board would include representatives of the Supporters Trust, Supporters’ Club, the Disabled Supporters’ Group plus elected members from the fanbase. The Premier League has already created its own model for such a board which falls somewhat short of what the Football Supporters Association (FSA)consider to be best practice.

Definitive guidelines from the FSA are still awaited but, in the meantime, the Club gave us what they describe as a “heads up” at the meeting to indicate that they are giving a Fans Advisory Board (FAB) serious consideration and they also outlined some of their initial thoughts. The Trust will be contacting the Supporters Club and Disabled Supporters Group so that a joint approach from Supporters Groups can be formulated. The definitive guidelines from the FSA will be critical in determining the structure and operation of the FAB and as soon as they are received I will update members.

Shuttle Buses – CCS to Cardiff Central Station 

The Trust asked for an update on discussions with Cardiff Bus on the reinstatement of a bus service linking the Stadium with Cardiff Central Station. Wayne Nash reported that meetings with Cardiff Bus had been successful and that the service will recommence from the start of the season. I will try and ascertain timetable details and update members as soon as they are available.

Green Issues 

In response to an advance question from a Trust Member Wayne Nash updated the meeting on initiatives being adopted in the forthcoming season. He stated that he had met with Forest Green Rovers FC, probably the leaders in the field of football stadium green issues, who provided helpful guidance. He stated that there would be some quick wins in providing more bins to enhance recycling and would be looking at solar power installations. The club are pursuing the EFL Green Clubs scheme which is an accreditation scheme that assesses clubs’ environmental rating and offers steps for continual improvement.