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Premier League fan reps discuss issues with league hierarchy

Back in December, Premier League executives met with fans from the Football Supporters' Association Premier League Network to discuss an array of issues that are currently a high priority among fan groups. The notes of that meeting have now been published and make for very interesting reading.

The issues discussed ranged from the current situation at Everton Football Club to the prices of tickets in the Premier League and how they are affecting match-going fans.

FSA and Premier League fan meeting: Key talking points

The English Premier League
The FSA met with senior Premier League officials on December 11th

Independent regulator

During the King's Speech in November, the announcement that an independent regulator will be introduced into English football for the first time was met with a positive reaction, and all members of the FSA in attendance at this meeting were keen to voice their support of the idea.

The supporters also welcomed the fact that Martin Henderson, a former member of the Sports Ground Safety Authority, had been appointed as interim Chief Operating Officer of the regulator.

The discussion then returned to the regulator itself, with Kevin Miles – Chief Executive of the FSA – explaining that he believes the government will table the required legislation in January. Richard Masters, Chief Executive of the Premier League, insisted the organisation were in preparation for that moment.

Masters also confirmed that the Premier League would continue to conduct their own due diligence alongside the new independent regulator.

Everton FC points deduction

Attention was then turned towards the situation at Everton, and more specifically, the finer details of both their initial charge that led to their 10-point points deduction, as well as the status of their appeal for said charge.

The Premier League explained that due to the appeal made by the Toffees, they were unable to disclose any information that was not already made public, and also confirmed that the punishment the club received was decided upon by an independent committee, rather than the Premier League itself.

Everton fan Dave Kelly argued that this issue was not just an Everton FC issue, but instead a situation that affects all fans – demanding greater transparency over similar sagas in the future for the sake of the fans of the punished club.

Miles supported those claims, reiterating that the vast majority of fans across the country believe the punishment handed to Everton was incredibly harsh – especially when compared to the consequences faced by those who attempted to create a breakaway league just a few years ago.

Broadcasting

The Premier League confirmed that it had agreed on a new broadcasting rights deal, worth £6.7 billion in total and that the money would be shared among the 20 Premier League clubs.

Fans in attendance raised the issue of unsociable kick-off times that were having profound effects on all match-going fans. The Premier League swiftly addressed these concerns, explaining that the new deal consists of the same packages as the current TV rights deal and that any further fixture disruption would be a result of European football, rather than television schedules.

Members of the FSA also heavily criticised the Premier League executives regarding the Christmas Eve fixture played between Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers, making it clear that fans should have been consulted before that decision was made, not after.

Regarding other broadcasting issues, Thomas Concannon, Premier League Network Manager for the FSA, also raised concerns regarding double and late alterations to the fixture schedule. He explained that this schedule was seemingly set in stone, and double or late changes to specific kick-off times greatly affected a fan's ability to attend the game.

Ticketing

The FSA were keen to discuss the issue of ticket touting and the effect this has on fans who attempt to secure tickets legitimately via their club's official website. The EPL bosses responded by reassuring those in attendance that they were working on solutions, which included better use of technology to combat fraudulent sales and also, where possible, improving the ticketing experience for supporters.

Fulham FC stadium Craven Cottage
Fulham have recently introduced a new £3000 season ticket at Craven Cottage / Photo by Icon Sport

Fans also expressed their dissatisfaction at the recent spike in ticket prices across the league, pointing out that Fulham had recently introduced a season ticket costing £3000, while some EPL clubs were charging fans carrying babies, who did not require seats, upwards of £58.

They also highlighted the fact that 85% of the Premier League network had seen an increase in ticket prices across the league. The officials responded by reminding the supporters that ticket prices were at the sole discretion of the clubs.

Referee working group

The FSA informed the Premier League officials that they had successfully set up a referee working group with the PGMOL. This group will consist of fan representatives from the Premier League, Championship, League 1 and 2, as well as the Women’s game.

Supporters insisted that they are keen to work with the referees to find solutions to the current issues being faced and provide increased support for officials throughout England and Wales, including grassroots football.


Harry Dowsett

Freelance football writer with experience writing for multiple digital platforms, such as GIVEMESPORT. Recently graduated from Portsmouth University with a media studies degree - completing a dissertation on the evolution of sports journalism in the process. He has a love for Arsenal Football Club and a passion for football as a whole.

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