Report from the Supporters Direct/FSF Summit
The following is a summary by Chris Parker about the recent SD annual summit
I attended the above at St Georges Park towards the end of June. Very well attended with over 300 delegates representing a huge number of clubs from Hamburg, Panithinakos to Newark Town.
The AGM took place on the Friday evening. The issues SD are very similar to those virtually every trust faces in that the elections are uncontested and they don’t think they are diverse enough. It was pointed out that the board was representative of those present and most delegates felt the balance was a true reflection of most Trust boards and also membership.
The Premier League had previously ‘given’ a small amount of money to run SD but this has reduced year on year and is still up for negotiation. SD are not concerned with this as it means the SD is more independent and not beholding to the premier League
SD have issued, or will shortly be sending out, the report following the AGM.
Saturday morning opened with an address from David Bernstein the outgoing Chair of the FA together with Andy Burnham MP. Burnham was a loud voice in the Hillsborough campaign and also is extremely fans focussed and supportive of the trust movement. He asked for suggestions to boost trusts and in particular things that he would push to be included in the Labour party’s manifesto for the next general election. Yes, probably trying to buy votes but nevertheless it could be worthwhile. I suggested that for every football club that has full Trust representative on the board of a club then the rate of VAT paid would be reduced. This can, if necessary have a cap applied to the first £100k or whatever. I am not sure how this would work for the top Premier League clubs but if GTFC could reduce their VAT bill by £100k for having a trust rep on the board then it would show outstanding value to the club.
I then attended the workshop titled ‘Reclaim our Game’. I opened this workshop by outlining the success of the Mariners Trust. We then heard about the Bradford City story which has been outlined at recent regionalised workshops. I can give anyone a summary if required. We then heard from the representatives of Real Ovideo. If you are interested look up the story of the SD website. There is a video about it. Amazing and shows what a united fans group can achieve.
My next point of call was the workshop on stadiums as ‘Assets of Community value’. Briefly this scheme enables a Trust, or any other community body, to apply to protect their stadiums so that if the ground is ever to be sold then the Trust would have first call. I am not certain this is of use to us at present but it does protect a stadium if a club owner planned to sell the ground for say development, as it must be first offered to the Trust to buy. I can expand more if anyone wants to hear more.
The last workshop I attended was more of a talk from a guy from Green Bay Packers in the NFL. This is the ultimate fan owned club. Amazing that such a small Town gets attendances over 100% of its population and there is a huge waiting list for tickets. Look it up or I can expand if anyone wishes.
There were many workshops running at the same time and i would have liked to attend some of the others. In particular the ones of Safe Standing, Transparency and Vigilance and Sustainability or Bust.