Supporter representatives from every top-flight club, including the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust recently met with Premier League executives to discuss a range of issues impacting match-going fans.
The meeting took place under the auspices of the Football Supporters Federation on 11th October and was attended by Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore and other league officials.
Fan representatives from every Premier League club attended the meeting, drawn from the FSF’s network of democratically structured trusts and supporter groups, as well as some fanzines and activists. Supporters Direct also attended.
This was the fifth meeting between fan organisations and the Premier League which followed Government recommendations on fan engagement. The first took place in July 2016.
Future meetings will take place on a bi-annual basis with the next one due to take place in Spring 2019.
The results of the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust Annual Survey are now available and can be downloaded here.
We’d like to thank all of you who participated in the survey held between Mid-April until the end of May this year. It is arguably one of the most important activities the Trust is involved with on your behalf. It is an important barometer of our concerns, issues and views on the Club and in addition the results feed in to the motions you vote on at the AGM which in turn become CST policy for the year ahead.
We will be meeting with the Club in November to discuss the survey results in detail and any concerns and issues arising.
The key points and highlights are as follows:
- There was a great response this year with nearly 3,000 responses received.
- It was very encouraging to see a growth in the number of 16-25 year-olds participating in the survey. These are the supporters that represent the future of the Club’s support and it’s great to see them getting involved
- The survey came out before the Club’s announcement regarding the postponement of Stadium redevelopment. However the views expressed regarding the temporary stadium mirror last year’s: roughly speaking Twickenham 50%, Wembley 40% and Stratford 10%.
- One of the strongest messages coming through in the Survey was the support for the introduction of Safe Standing. We asked in the context of a new build stadium but it was referred to regularly throughout the survey, particularly in response to any questions regarding atmosphere. It is our belief that the Club should now push forward with the introduction of rail seating i.e. Safe Standing at Stamford Bridge in its current configuration as soon as possible.
- It will come as little surprise that the supporters still find prices too high and many are put off attending or attending as often as they would like as a consequence.
- A recurrent theme was the need to provide for the fans of the future with more availability and options for younger supporters. This was not just for junior supporters but also for young adults; we are probably all aware of the crippling costs associated with living or working in London and the transition from buying ‘child’ tickets to paying full adult price is brutal.
- This would also assist in the issue of improving atmosphere; the combination of safe standing and increased young adult attendance can only lead to a better atmosphere in the ground.
- Kick off times remain a point of contention, with Mondays and (sadly for this year) Thursdays seen as particularly unpopular.
- It is also clear that most supporters feel that more notice should be given before moving games; more than 50% supported a minimum of 6-8 weeks’ notice. While the TV companies tend to meet their target of 6-8 weeks early in the season, as the season goes on they often revert to short notice causing chaos for travel and planning for both UK and Overseas supporters.
- Supporters were in favour of a winter break by roughly 2 to 1, preferring a single weekend break for all clubs over a staggered one (which was subsequently announced)
- As is usually the case after a less successful season, significant dissatisfaction with some aspects of the running of the Club was evident. Particular areas of concern were a lack of footballing knowledge on the Board and poor recruitment/operation in the transfer window.
- The Supporter Liaison Office role at Chelsea continues to be performed by a full time employee of the Club, whereas three quarters of supporters feel that this vital role in representing supporters interests to the Club and liaising with the Club should be done by an independent supporter.
Once again thanks for your support.
Chairman, Chelsea Supporters Trust