Summary of the EFL Network Meeting held on 19th March

BIAS attended the above meeting alongside representatives from Supporters Associations from Club’s across the Championship, League 1 and 2.

Here are some key points discussed at the meeting:

New Organisation Update

• Last November a decision was taken to merge the Football Supporters Federation (FSF) and Supporters Direct (SD) to create The Unified Football Supporters Organisation (TUFSO).

• To date there has been a smooth transition to blend and merge the two organisations. The first new board meeting has been held.

• Although TUFSO is the legal name for the organisation, an external tender has been used to help with the new name and brand – Target date – end of April with new branding, social media and website planned to be in place by the end of this summer.

Flexible Football Supporters Rail Tickets

• A working Group is being set up by the Department for Transport to look at flexible rail tickets for football supporters.  This is seen as a positive development following years of campaigning.

• We understand that the scope of the working group will look at:

o Capacity and number of midweek matches where trains aren’t running late enough for people to travel home.

o Cost of travel for football supporters, in particular when supporters book early to avoid high costs of travel, and arrangements are changed at short notice due to TV coverage or bad weather. Currently in such circumstances, the original price of the ticket is forfeited and new tickets need to be purchased, usually at a much higher cost.

o Behaviour of football supporters on the rail network – There is a desire to have an incentive to promote better supporter behaviour on the rail network, and the potential disqualification from a flexible rail ticket scheme could be a way to achieve this.

• It is hoped that a pilot scheme should be up and running by January 2020 with a select number of clubs and in a set location with one rail company.

• Season 20/21 should be the actual launch date for the scheme Nationwide.

• It is expected that a member of the TUFSO will be involved in the working group in some capacity and BIAS as an affiliate member will continue to track and report progress to our members.

Reciprocal Away Ticket Pricing

• There is a desire from TUFSO to explore the opportunity of reciprocal away match pricing for Championship clubs following feedback by a number of Supporters Associations including BIAS.

• A price cap for away matches in the Championship similar to the Premiership is not seen as feasible in view of reduced TV revenues seen in our League.

• A Working Group involving a number of Supporters Associations from the Championship is being formed to try and put some agreements in place on ticket pricing. BIAS have asked to be involved in this initiative and will provide updates on progress.

Clubs in Crisis

• Proposal for new regulations for Football Clubs discussed in the light of problems encountered by Blackpool, Bolton, Coventry etc. are progressing and will be presented to the Football Association (FA) once finalised. Initial discussions are already underway with the FA in this regard.

If you have any questions regarding any of the above, please email: feedback@bias.org.uk.

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