CHELSEA SUPPORTERS TRUST MINUTES Special General Meeting 21 February 2015

The SGM was held after the Burnley home game on Saturday 21st February 2015

The Chelsea Supporters Trust SGM was held downstairs at the Finborough Arms pub, after the Burnley home game on Saturday 21st February 2015 at 17:30.

The SGM was open to voting members only, with some 60 attendees either finding a seat or standing at the edges of the room. The meeting was well attended.

The Chelsea Supporters Trust was delighted to have PC Paul Wright, of the Football Intelligence Unit, attending the SGM. PC Wright held a Q&A session during the meeting on the law, policing and stewarding and other related issues for football supporters.

PC Paul Wright of the Football Intelligence Unit was a familiar face to many of you as he covers Chelsea games both home and away. After the formal agenda was completed, PC Wright was happy to take questions on any relevant topic related to his work. It was all very informative and the problems the police have with touting issues was explained very well.
SGM Minutes 21 February 2015
The link to the Podcast is here.
And it’s posted on the Chelsea Fancast website here.

CST Board Members Tim Rolls (TR); Cliff Auger (CA); David Chidgey (DC); David Johnstone (DJ); Neil Beard (NB); Stuart Kinner (SK); Iain Rodger (IR); Julian Beattie (JB); Celia Mindelsohn (CM) Apologies: Theresa Magee; Paul Jeffrey

Opening

The meeting opened at 17:35. TR welcomed members to the meeting and advised that the meeting was quorate. TR urged CST members to report any incidents witnessed concerning the French police in Paris to customer.services@chelseafc.com

CST have issued a statement with regard to the incident on the Metro which can be found at http://www.chelseasupporterstrust.com/paris_metro.html

Ticketing

CST have formally written to the Club requesting a freeze in ticket prices; this was before the announcement of the new TV deal. Following this, the Trust was invited to meet with a a senior club executive to discuss. CST will campaign for reducing ticket prices, particularly for young people, for when the new deal kicks in. There was no commitment from the club re ticket price freeze or future policy on pricing but he is keen to keep the dialogue open.

Stamford Bridge

Details of discussions with CPO Board and CPO AGM can be found in February’s newsletter at http://www.chelseasupporterstrust.com/docs/newsletter_feb15.pdf . There is no news on the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge.

Football in the Community

CST has made a submission to the Dept of Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) Expert Working Group on Football Supporter Ownership and Engagement. The submission states that supporter ownership of clubs like Chelsea is unrealistic but that supporter representation on a club board is achievable and desirable.

Safe Standing

The Welsh Assembly is taking safe standing seriously and it is also under discussion in Scotland. The momentum is with it; there are fewer politicians against safe standing, but realisation is still probably long term.

Atmosphere

Members of CST Board have had several meetings with senior members of the Club board. Topics discussed include seating, safe standing and siting of away supporters. NB stated that the Club is listening to supporter concerns about atmosphere.

Stewarding

A member noted that, since the QPR game, stewarding has been relaxed. In the MHL, supporters have not been asked to sit down and there have been no letters sent re persistent standing, but there have been warning letters about standing on seats and hoardings.

Siting of away supporters

A member stated that away supporters should not be sitting in the Shed. Club has asked CST to solicit supporter opinion as to where away supporters should be seated in the next annual survey. Preferred area of East Upper is not possible because of Health and Safety concerns. A return to East Lower may be possible if dugouts are moved to West Stand (the manager does not like being surrounded by away supporters) but any changes may have to wait until stadium is redeveloped. A member stated that some clubs provide good seating areas for away supporters. Noted that Club is constrained by configuration of current ground; any redevelopment should incorporate safe standing and siting of away supporters in new design. A member asked about maintaining atmosphere by keeping people together if there is a temporary move to accommodate redevelopment of Stamford Bridge. NB confirmed that CST have already spoken to the Club about this and they understand the need to keep people together if we move.

Meetings with the Club

Four CST Board members met with Club executives in December to present the results of the annual survey. This was well received by the Club and they are keen to keep ongoing discussions with CST and to be kept informed of future survey results. The third annual survey is due to be sent out to members in May this year. For continuity, many of the questions will remain the same, but CM invited members to suggest any questions on issues of concern to supporters.

[TR welcomed Amanda Jacks, case worker for Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF)]

Stakeholder Engagement

CST have been in talks with Fulham and QPR Trusts since we share the same local council and police area. All these Trusts have agreed to have a joint approach to get the club supporters represented on the Hammersmith and Fulham Safety Advisory Group (SAG). Minutes of the SAG show that there have been discussions about football in the borough with contributions from the Police, St John’s Ambulance etc. but currently there is no 3 supporter representation. It was noted that Crystal Palace Trust participate in their local SAG. Noted that there is currently a big problem with touts at QPR for bigger games since the away allocation has been cut. The Premier League (PL) have met with Trusts that participated in the demonstration outside PL headquarters last year to discuss ticket pricing. CST will ensure that we are represented at the next meeting. FSF are organising another demonstration to coincide with next PL meeting.

Touting

Over the last few months, the majority of feedback received by CST has been about street touting and members ask why the police do not appear to be enforcing the law. It was noted that changing the ticketing system to eliminate paper tickets by putting cup games, etc. on season ticket and membership cards would greatly reduce the opportunity for touting. TR stated that it is not helpful when the Minister for Culture Media and Sport calls touts ‘classic entrepreneurs’. CST is disappointed that the recent Bill to outlaw touting was recently thrown out of Parliament. Noted by a member that touting contributes to lack of atmosphere at SB as the majority of people purchasing tickets this way are tourists who may have little interest in Chelsea. CST will be organising a ‘write-in’ to the local councils affected (H&F, RBKC); all were urged to participate and it was noted this would be particularly powerful if members who are residents of these boroughs wrote in.

Questions from the Floor

A member asked whether the Secretary for Culture Media and Sport had received any donations from secondary ticketing organisations. Ben Price announced the formation of ‘Chelsea Fans Against Racism’. There is currently a Facebook page and they are planning organise a poster and tee-shirt campaign. The aim of the group is to show the rest of the world that Chelsea do not accept racism in any football ground – ‘As fans we do not accept it any more’. Amanda Jacks stated that FSF has small pot of funds for diversity projects and suggested that the group contact them. A member stated that he always informed police stewards when he heard racist remarks at games but has been met with the attitude that they would like to sweep it under the carpet, with responses such as ‘your word against theirs’. AJ advised that if this occurs, their shoulder number should be taken and reported to the area police. Kick it Out also have an app where the seat number can be reported and they will deal with the incident.

The minutes of the Q&A with the police officers will be circulated to members once they have been approved.

Newsletter – February 2015

Here is the February 2015 Chelsea Supporters Trust newsletter. There is plenty going on at the moment and this newsletter is designed to keep our members up to date with CST activities

Special General Meeting — Reminder

A reminder that the next CST Special General meeting is after the Burnley game, in the basement of the Finborough Arms. Further information, including the agenda, is detailed here

The special guest is PC Paul Wright of the Football Intelligence Unit who will discuss match day policing at Stamford Bridge, touting, away and overseas policing etc.

In addition to those physically present at meetings, we are getting an increasing number of members listening live or downloading a recording. Over 2,000 people downloaded the last SGM on Soundcloud, and a lot more listened using I Tunes.

Ticket Pricing

One issue bound to be raised at the SGM is the new £5.1bn TV deal, the opportunities it presents PL clubs around ticket pricing from 2016/17 and what the CST can do in terms or campaigning. Every supporter will have a view on this, so come along to the meeting and express yours.

The CST wrote to the club requesting a ticket price freeze for the 2015/16 season. The letter can be seen here. We discussed the contents of the letter with the club, and they said they understand our position and informed that the prices for next season will be announced in due course. It is worth pointing out that this letter was sent, and discussed with the club, before the new TV deal was announced.

League Cup Final — Meeting with Met Police

Two CST board members are attending a meeting with the Metropolitan Police and other interested parties to discuss policing at the forthcoming League Cup final. The meeting takes place in the week before the game. If there are specific issues you would like raised, please let us know at the SGM.

Atmosphere

The feedback received after recent pre-match light displays at Stamford Bridge has been very positive, and it is clear that these displays have had a positive impact on atmosphere in the ground. CST board members continue to meet with, and work with, club executives on this issue.

Street Ticket Touting

Street ticket touting is clearly becoming an increasing problem on match days and it is evident from feedback that this is a very hot issue with our members. We are talking to a number of other supporters trusts (including QPR and Fulham, who are in the same borough as Chelsea) as to the best way to campaign on this issue (both on a Chelsea specific basis, and more widely), and to get the police and council to take more effective action. The current Culture Secretary’s stated position that touts are ‘classic entrepreneurs’ indicates that legislation may be some way off but we are exploring what realistic options exist. This is another issue that will be explored at the SGM.

Paris Trip

We wish safe and enjoyable trip to Paris for all Chelsea supporters travelling out. The CST have spoken to the club about the problems experienced by disabled supporters last April and the steps that have been taken to avoid a recurrence.You can read our statement on the matter here

CPO AGM

At the recent CPO AGM, we submitted advance questions about the future of the stadium and related issues. These were answered verbally by CPO board members, who also gave us this written response: –
“We have met with architects appointed by the Club for the very limited purpose of being shown a scheme for possible developments to the streetscape in the immediate vicinity of Stamford Bridge. Rick Glanvill was also consulted to identify club “heritage” colours that might be used in that scheme. We have not been privy to any stadium redevelopment plans. Nor have we been given any indication of milestones. We have, as you might expect, asked the Club to be as forthcoming and transparent as they can be as to their proposals. We have not been involved in or briefed about any discussions which the Club may have had with the local authority. If, in due course, a planning application is made we must, as owners of the ground, be made aware of any specific proposals.
We have had no discussions with the Club about the future of CPO in the event of a Stadium redevelopment. To date the Club have been very supportive of CPO. The Directors remain committed to the company’s objects. A stadium re-development would not affect the fundamental purpose of CPO. CPO’s future role is, and will remain, a matter for its shareholders and not for the Club.”

Further Reading

In the News

Gary Lineker demands affordable football for all as new TV deal makes each televised match worth £10m (with quotes from CST chair Tim Rolls).
Henry Winter: Premier League must agree to underwrite fan campaign for maximum £20 away ticket.
Playfair Qatar: 4,000 workers likely to die before 2022 Qatar World Cup
FSF statement on unjustified and unreasonable SAG decision to reduce Stoke allocation at Blackburn.

Chelsea-related

Chelsea could take advantage and make Wembley a temporary home.
Club advice on street ticket touting
Great article on how football in London has changed over the last 40 years

For all the latest news and views that catch the CST’s eye, follow the Trust on Twitter at www.twitter.com/chelseastrust and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/chelseasupporterstrust

Travel News

Get advance ticket alerts from thetrainline,com  Before you book, please remember that fixtures are subject to change due to television demands:

http://www.thetrainline.com/ticketalert/football/premier-league
The Two Together Railcard gives a third off rail fares: http://www.twotogether-railcard.co.uk/leaflet/

Travel to the Bridge by train? Weekend travel news from Tfl:

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/livetravelnews/realtime/track.aspx?offset=weekend
Follow TfL travel status on Twitter: