Football fans from across the country gathered at the Royal National Hotel in London on Saturday (29th June) for the FSA's 2019 AGM to discuss another 12 months of campaigning and propose new policies for the organisation on a range of issues affecting match-going fans. Below is a summary of the 2019 AGM...
The meeting agreed to adopt the standing orders contained in the delegate packs.
Adoption of the minutes from the November 2018 EGM
Minutes from the November 2018 EGM, which finalised the merger of the Football Supporters' Federation and Supporters Direct into a single organisation, were accepted by delegates.
Delegates were updated on the FSA’s ongoing work around governance – particularly its lobbying of the FA. Roger Ellis, chair of the Sky Blue Trust and Ashley Brown, the FSA’s head of supporter engagement and governance, told the meeting about a presentation to the FA board and the major issues around governance facing football.
Chris Matheson MP addressed the AGM and spoke about his ten minute rule minute bill, calling for robust independent regulation in football, and the importance of keeping the issue in the spotlight.
The meeting considered the following motions for new areas of FSA policy:
Motion 1: Club licensing system
This meeting re-affirms the motion adopted at the 2017 AGM of the Football Supporters’ Federation, instructing the Board and National Council to press the FA and the EFL to introduce a licensing system for clubs, overseen by an independent regulator.
This meeting further notes that since then there have been an increasing number of so-called “crisis clubs” where supporters and trusts have had to contend with negligent and irresponsible owners, and where the footballing authorities have not taken action to manage or prevent such crises. This meeting further notes that the FA/EFL Owners and Directors Test is not working and is not fit for purpose. Consequently, this meeting instructs the Board and National Council as follows:
- To make it a top priority to press the FA and the EFL for an an independent regulator within the FA to oversee a licensing system for all clubs
- To campaign jointly with supporters’ trusts in the strongest possible terms to call for this work to be adopted
Vote - Motion carried
Motion 2: Regulation & governance
This AGM endorses the policies and proposals for strengthening the regulation and governance of clubs set out in the paper submitted to the FA Board and presented to this meeting, and instructs the FSA Council and Board to continue to campaign strongly for these changes. It welcomes the 10-minute Parliamentary rule bill on this topic proposed by Chris Matheson MP, and resolves to continue to work with him, and other supportive MPs and organisations to achieve the changes necessary to prevent future threats to our historic clubs.
Vote – motion carried
Motion 3: Environmental sustainability
The FSA notes that there is a real environmental emergency affecting our planet and that football clubs and their supporters could potentially make an important contribution to tackling that. The Association should support, develop and lead projects across football that look to improve the environmental impact of the game and work with supporters to raise awareness of environmental sustainability.
Vote - Motion carried
Motion 4: Various
It was agreed between the proposer and the Chair that the Chair will take the issues raised to the Board and National Council.
Motion 5: European competition reform
This conference notes with concern the reported proposals by UEFA and the European Club Association to restructure European club competitions from the 2024-2025 season onwards. These proposals as they seem to be currently constituted imply a significant increase in the number of European fixtures and a dramatic shift of status and revenues from domestic leagues to European competitions.
This conference believes that any proposals to reform European club competitions must be subject to consultation with other stakeholders, and in particular with supporters and their representatives at national and European levels.
We reaffirm our commitment to the following principles, against which we will measure any future reform proposals:
- Promotion and relegation based on sporting performance - from the bottom of the pyramid to qualification for Europe
- No to closed leagues or franchise football – qualify on results, not through history or heritage
- Weekends are for domestic leagues – protect fan culture, home and away. No live broadcasts on Saturdays at 3:00pm
- We want competitive leagues – no to even more concentration of wealth and on-going domination by a fixed few top clubs
- Protect the pyramid - and cup competitions; domestic football comes first
- Share the wealth – the money from elite football should be shared across the whole game
This conference believes that the current UEFA/ECA proposals would undermine several of the above principles, and we therefore resolve to commit the FSA and its members to campaign against them.
We also commit FSA to seeking to develop this campaign across Europe in partnership with our colleagues in Football Supporters Europe, and we will seek to raise this issue as a matter of urgency at the 2019 FSE Congress in Lisbon.
Vote – motion carried
Emergency motion: West Ham United & Socios.com
The FSA notes with concern the new partnership between West Ham United and Socios.com to provide an on-line supporter engagement tool that among other services provides for supporter opinion to be gathered based on 'votes' that supporters who want to participate are required to purchase. In launching the platform WHU has expressly ignored collective representations from their independent supporter bodies.
- agree a policy position that re-iterates the engagement role of recognised independent supporter groups and opposes the Socios model of consultation with supporters that requires the payment of a fee to participate.
- mandate the FSA executive team to take appropriate actions to deliver this position.
Vote – motion carried
The Richard Lillicrap & Jacqui Forster Memorial Awards
This year two supporters were honoured at our AGM for the work they do on behalf of supporters.
The Richard Lillicrap Award, named after Supporters Direct’s former treasurer and a founder of Swansea City’s Swans Trust, was awarded to Nick Hawker for his work this season with Exeter City Supporters’ Trust.
Finally, the Jacqui Forster Memorial Award was presented to Christine Seddon, co-chair of Blackpool Supporters’ Trust for her tireless work on the Oyston Out campaign. Read more about the awards and this year’s winners here.