Worry grows af­ter demise of City sup­port­ers’ group

FANS CON­CERNED CLUB COULD FALL FOUL OF EFL RULES WITH­OUT PROPER REP­RE­SEN­TA­TION

Coventry Telegraph - - NEWS - By SI­MON GIL­BERT Chief Re­porter si­mon.gil­bert@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

COVEN­TRY City has yet to re­place a sup­port­ers’ group formed to pro­vide fans with di­rect ac­cess to the board, al­most a year af­ter it was shut down.

The CCFC Sup­port­ers Con­sul­ta­tive Group (SCG), which had mem­bers from sev­eral strands of the Sky Blue Army in­clud­ing the Sky Blue Trust, was wound up at the end of 2016.

It was a fo­rum which al­lowed the club to reg­u­larly meet with fans and ful­fil its obli­ga­tions un­der the EFL’s rules on sup­porter con­sul­ta­tion and en­gage­ment.

But, with no re­place­ment for the SCG an­nounced, some fans have raised con­cerns that the club could fall foul of the EFL’s rules if the sit­u­a­tion is not ad­dressed soon.

A source at the EFL re­cently told the Tele­graph the gov­ern­ing body was mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion, but was happy the club ful­filled its obli­ga­tions for the past sea­son.

Ac­cord­ing to the EFL web­site: “Clubs are re­quired to meet with a rep­re­sen­ta­tive group of sup­port­ers at least twice a sea­son to dis­cuss sig­nif­i­cant is­sues re­lat­ing to the club.

“The frame­work for each club’s spe­cific con­sul­ta­tion strat­egy is to be doc­u­mented within its cus­tomer char­ter.”

It adds: “EFL reg­u­la­tions re­quire clubs to ap­point a Sup­porter Li­ai­son Of­fi­cer (SLO).

“Their role is prin­ci­pally to en­sure proper and con­struc­tive dis­course between a club and its sup­port­ers.

“Work­ing with both Sup­port­ers Di­rect and the Foot­ball Sup­port­ers’ Fed­er­a­tion, the EFL pro­vides guid­ance and sup­port for all mem­ber clubs and their SLOs, to en­cour­age greater con­sul­ta­tion and en­gage­ment with all stake­hold­ers across the game.” The club pre­vi­ously used the SCG to meet its obli­ga­tions un­der the EFL’s rules.

In a state­ment on its web­site, dated June 14, 2016, it said: “The Sky Blues have ex­ceeded the new min­i­mum re­quire­ment set by the EFL for quite some time, with the club cur­rently hold­ing bi­monthly meet­ings with the Coven­try City Sup­port­ers Con­sul­ta­tive Group (SCG).”

It is un­der­stood Coven­try City chair­man Tim Fisher is lead­ing on the or­gan­i­sa­tion of a re­place­ment for the dis­banded SCG.

De­spite re­peated re­quests from the Tele­graph, the club has not pro­vided an of­fi­cial up­date on the sta­tus of any re­place­ment group or fo­rum – or who would be in­volved.

In a state­ment men­tion­ing sup­porter en­gage­ment last week, it said: “The club con­tin­ues to strive to build re­la­tion­ships with sup­port­ers groups in­clud­ing the Sky Blue Trust, the board of which en­joyed a pos­i­tive first meet­ing with club chief ex­ec­u­tive Dave Boddy re­cently.

“We look for­ward to fur­ther such meet­ings, and con­tin­u­ing to make ar­range­ments with the Trust for Man­ager Mark Robins to ap­pear at a forth­com­ing open meet­ing along­side main­tain­ing di­a­logue on other is­sues and im­prove­ments we can make by work­ing to­gether.”

Prior to its demise, the SCG was trou­bled by in-fight­ing, rows over al­leged changes to min­utes, res­ig­na­tions and ac­cu­sa­tions of bul­ly­ing.

It had also come un­der fire from some fans over con­cerns it did not ac­cu­rately re­flect the con­cerns of sup­port­ers.

The Sky Blue Trust la­belled the SCG as “in­ef­fec­tive” fol­low­ing the last stormy meet­ing. In a state­ment, the fan trust said: “The SCG as it stands is not fit for pur­pose. We there­fore urge those re­spon­si­ble to em­brace the need for change, to of­fer proper rep­re­sen­ta­tion and to set aside egos and per­sonal as­pi­ra­tion in putting sup­port­ers first.”

A large por­tion of the fi­nal meet­ing min­utes are dom­i­nated by bit­ter ar­gu­ments and crit­i­cism of var­i­ous fans’ groups and or­gan­i­sa­tions.

But the group also went on to dis­cuss is­sues in­clud­ing why sea­son tick­ets had been con­fis­cated and the avail­abil­ity of funds to any new manger in Jan­uary 2017.

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