SFSA First Fans Meeting Summary, With Guests Sir Keir Starmer, Richard Leonard and Angela Rayner
Date: 23rd October 2020
Our first monthly fans zoom meeting with guest Sir Keir Starmer, Angela Rayner and Richard Leonard also present was a great success with the meeting allowing a flowing dialogue around many of the important issues that impact Scottish football and in particular Covid and its impact..
SFSA understand that Football is a devolved matter, however constructive dialogue across the political spectrum is important to allow fans to be represented fully. Our own board member Hannah Bardell was also present.
Andy Smith chair of SFSA introduced the meeting and set the scene with a summary of where we are and the key issues that unite the Scottish fans. https://scottishfsa.org/andrew-smith-meeting-introduction/
Sir Keir was very keen to learn about the situation in Scotland and parallels with England where he is an Arsenal fan and also a regular at Stevanage and still plays 8 a side.
SFSA and its members agreed to the zoom call and participated fully at short notice with a wide variety of teams, big and small, across Scotland represented.
The next fans meeting is scheduled for November at less short notice.
Look out for the announcement soon.
You will find below a summary of some of the key points mentioned in the meeting:
- A discussion about the identity of the transparency of the current Joint Response Group in Scotland and a need to know more about its members and a representative of every stakeholder at meetings about the game.
- Sir Keir’s approach to game in England and subsequent consequences of this in Scotland if any and the nature of his interest in the Scottish game
- The financial disparity between the Scottish and English game and of clubs in each country and an understanding that fans in Scotland generally contribute a significantly larger percentage of revenue by passing through the turnstiles.
- The key relationship and importance between football clubs and their communities, highlighting the key work of many clubs across the pyramid to support their community, before and during the pandemic.
- Covid 19 disruption and anxiety amongst fans/clubs
- An understanding of the sense of urgency for improvements needed to the game in Scotland which will be there pre and post Covid
- The cultural and community importance of football, alongside other industry’s such as Art and Entertainment sectors.
- Criticism of the “project big picture” in England and a consensus that power among a select few billionaires sets a recessive and negative precedent for the game.
- Highlighting the importance of mental health and happiness, and the impact that the pandemic is having on fans, especially with being kept away from football grounds
- The Policing costs in Scottish grounds and the ban of alcohol within stadia in relation to maximising profits and reducing overheads for clubs in Scotland.
- Discussion on the variety of procedures across Europe in relation to letting fans into stadia
- Live streaming and its comparison to a live game.
- The infrastructural differences for live streaming capabilities across the pyramid
- Potential future financial pressure of clubs with season ticket refunds for non delivery of games.
- The huge impact on smaller companies and the resultant sponsorship revenue impacts they bring to clubs
- Prospects of financial support package for clubs in England which may have a knock-on affect in Scotland in terms of funds available to the Scottish government.
- Lack of “exit strategy” from both Scottish and UK governments.
- A desire to see evidence from the two test events at Ross County and Aberdeen which may have or may have not guided Scottish government policy
- A need for conversion about sustainable models to get fans back, with countries across Europe following the science but have completely different protocols to allow fans back at a reduced capacity. Anything from zero fans to 60% and all things in between.
- Different equation for England, particularly for the premier league in terms of generated revenue by fans and sponsorship which should consider redistribution and rebalancing.
- Cost associated to reintroducing fans for smaller clubs such as increased stewarding and infrastructure improvements etc.
- Discussion if a club’s financial history will impact their ability to receive future relief funding, with some clubs being run better than others. We need to be careful to ensure clubs aren’t lost due to historical mistakes.
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