Safety at Loftus Road

We were asked by Hammersmith and Fulham Council if we had any concerns about safety issues at Loftus Road. We asked our members and, as a result, the council’s QPR Safety Advisory Committee will be discussing several issues, and we are raising these directly with the club too.

Issues raised were:

Emergency evacuation arrangements. In parts of the ground it can take some time to leave the stand at the end of a match.  As one long-term season ticket holder in the Upper Loft put it: “The time that it takes to exit the ground at a 3pm Saturday fixture (at any time of year) is both ridiculous and potentially dangerous. If it was at night and there was an emergency evacuation needed for a fire or another similar emergency, there is potential for serious injury or, heaven forbid, loss of life.”

The question is: What is the current Fire Strategy and Evacuation Plan for the Loftus Road stand and the stadium as a whole? Has it been reviewed and updated recently with the Stadium Safety Officer and Fire Marshals, together with the London Fire Brigade? We would like to have clarification on the policy for fire drills and what supporters in the stand will be asked to do in a major incident. How often do we have fire drills with the stewards and with a full stadium? Are these a requirement? We can’t remember having one recently.

Security searches. Supporters could not miss the fact that away supporters were able to bring flares into the ground on several occasions last season – including two consecutive games (surely stewards should have been more alert after the first incident). In the current climate the stewards need to be more vigilant.

Stewards and congestion.  It has been reported that stewards have a dangerous habit of standing in some stairwells as fans leave. A supporter in F block raised the issue that one steward stands at the top of the stairs and sometimes one stands at the bottom causing a jam. There is the same problem at bottom of stairs exiting on to South Africa Road. They need to be at hand but not actually in the escape route.

Supporters have raised the issue of who employs the stewards. This point was raised: “The club should employ ALL of its own stewards not hire most of them in from a security/logistics company. QPR stewards know the ground inside-out and also know most fans in their area of the stadium by sight (and probably name). In an emergency, these details are very important and could make all the difference to a successful evacuation.

This has been raised before but it would be worth hearing from the club its current view on this issue.

Local authorities are required to have a safety advisory committee with statutory responsibility for safety at each football club in their area. These committees include representatives from the club, the police, various departments of the council, fire service, TfL and others.  Last week the council officer who services the Safety Advisory Group for QPR asked if we had any views on safety issues, prior to this week’s meeting of the SAG. Issues identified will now be discussed there.

We also have asked the club to respond directly to the issues and suggested they would make good agenda items for the next Supporters’ Consultation meeting.

Thank you to all supporters who gave us your views. Recent events clearly show that the more we all know about safety procedures the better.

Posted in Community, QPR1st

QPR FC Safety Advisory Group Meeting

Twice a year Hammersmith and Fulham council holds a Safety Advisory Group meeting looking at safety issues for Queens Park Rangers FC.  We have been asked if we would like to raise any issues for its next meeting, on Wednesday 12 July.  Are you aware of any safety issues you would like us to raise? If so, let us know on info@qpr1st.com.

 

The meeting includes representatives of the police, council and club and they are interested in particular in safety issues relating to the management of the stadium.

 

Items on the agenda include:

  • Management / Operational Change
  • Challenging fixtures / issues
  • QPR supporters behaviour at home fixtures (anti-social behaviour, crime and disorder etc)
  • Away supporters behaviour home fixtures (anti-social behaviour, crime and disorder etc)
  • Stewarding / security arrangements
  • Search regime
  • Dealing with flares, smokebombs and pyrotechnics at matches
  • Persistent standing issues and management (notable fixtures)
  • Accident, injuries, near misses: statistics / trends
  • Ejections/refusals: statistics/ trends
  • Smoking Policy
  • TV Broadcasting/fixture changes
  • Traffic Management arrangements
  • Customer Feedback – complaints/praises
  • Supporter Groups’ liaison / feedback
  • Counter Terrorism / Security
  • QPR supporters behaviour at away fixtures

 

All councils are required to hold these meetings in relation to their local football clubs.

Posted in Community, QPR1st

Grenfell Tower Fire

QPR1st Supporters Trust would like to express its condolences to the families of the victims of the fire at Grenfell Tower and hope that suitable accommodation can be found as soon as possible for those who have been made homeless.

The club are acting as a collection point for clothing and food donations etc, for details please see

http://www.qpr.co.uk/news/article/2016-17/grenfell-tower-donations-3730647.aspx#8hmYvPobzWgrLmIO.99 

The Evening Standard appeal fund page can be found below

http://www.dispossessedfund.org.uk/emergency-appeal—grenfell-fire.aspx

Posted in Community

2017 National Football Supporters Survey

Every few years the Football Supporters’ Federation holds a national supporter survey to assess the state of the game and find out more about supporters’ views. They have just published their latest survey and are inviting you to take part.

The survey covers issues such as how many matches you go to, if you’re part of a fan group, whether you volunteer, the way you talk to and about your club through social media and if you watch matches across various digital platforms.  They are also interested to see what hasn’t changed: do fans still back video technology, are they still against the idea of a winter break, which we’re supported when they last did a survey?

Chief executive Kevin Miles said: “When it comes to the health of the game there’s no-one whose opinion matters more than that of football supporters.

“Our National Supporters Survey is the largest of its kind, canvassing the views of supporters up and down the country. We want fans to tell us what really matters to them in 2017.”

Despite being a comprehensive survey covering a range of topics, the FSF say it should only take the average user around eight to ten minutes to complete. The results of the survey will be published before the start of the 2017-18 season.
 

The last of these censuses was carried out in 2012 with more than 4,000 supporters from 130 different clubs completing our survey, giving us a snapshot of supporters’ views up and down the game.

Posted in All News, Community

Minutes of last week’s Supporters Consultation meeting

Minutes of the recent Supporter’s Consultation committee have been published and are available from the link below.
The presentation given on the new website and the club’s new video platform was very positive. Others issues discussed included updates on the training ground, stadium, support for Stan Bowles and chief executive Lee Hoos’ response to our question about the clubs plans to achieve financial sustainability.   We will be seeking an update from the chief executive next season – and more detail on how the club aims to tackle debts and financial losses.
The next committee will be in September.  Let us know if you have views on the issues that need to be raised for next season, on info@qpr1st.com

Supporters Consultation Meeting Minutes

 

Posted in Boardroom, Community, QPR1st

End of season newsletter published

Our end of season newsletter has just gone out to subscribers. If you would like a copy please ask for one by contacting us through info@qpr1st.com.

The newsletter covers the latest on new stadium plans and looks at our view of how the club has been managed over the past year – improvements, but a need for more clarity and detail on how the club aims to achieve financial sustainability in the coming years.

Posted in All News

2017/2018 St Prices

Following discussion with the supporters consultation group, the Club has agreed to freeze season ticket prices for next year. QP1st agree that this is the most appropriate decision

Posted in All News

QPR Chief Executive Lee Hoos takes on a greater role within the Club

QPR1st understand that a restructure has taken place in how the club is run on a day to day basis. It means that although Les Ferdinand remains responsible for player recruitment and day to day football matters, Lee Hoos has been given greater authority to immediately approve decisions rather than having to wait for approval from the club’s owners.  This is a rational development given the delay in the decision making process when the club’s owners are in a different time zone

Posted in Boardroom, QPR1st

Is the Club better run now than 10 years ago?

Do you think your club is being run better now than it was ten years ago? That was one of the questions QPR1st was asked by FCBusiness – a magazine looking at the business side of football – which has just published an edition looking at fans’ views. We were also asked about what the club gets wrong and what it gets right.   We said: “It consults with supporters on some significant issues and is now trying to manage the finances of the club better.  Things that the club gets wrong are amateurish tweets from the chairman, and a lack of clarity on the medium and long-term plans for the club.  Reflections of this include contradictory statements and inconsistent decision-making.”

We were asked what one thing would you like to see changed at your club immediately? We said: “Face to face communications with the chairman and management team, not just the CEO, director of football and manager; welcome though this is.”

We have the impression that the owners appear to make too many decisions on the hoof in response to the short term performance of the team rather than sticking to a long term strategy. That was reflected in a number of answers we gave:

What one thing would you like to see changed at your club in the long term? Our answer: “Firstly, the existence of a clear strategy of where the current owners see the club and its business in a few year’s time; something that will convince more supporters that the club is in competent hands. Allied to this; more influence for supporters in decision-making and discussions on the future.”

Our answer to that question about whether club affairs are managed better now than ten years ago was: “Better – but that would not be difficult. QPR has been very badly run for many years with owners and chief executives who neither understand football and how to run a football club, nor the traditions of the club.

Other issues raised included ticket prices and games rescheduled to meet the demands of TV. We said there should be a significant reduction in the number of games that have their dates or times changed for TV purposes. Do any other sporting or entertainment activities suffer this? The changes are unfair and often expensive for game attending supporters.

The full article is here: (See pages 43-45)

https://cloud.3dissue.com/6374/7271/131371/FCBUSINESS98/index.html

What do you think and what do you believe are the big issues for the cub in 2017? Let us know on info@qpr1st.com

Posted in Boardroom, Community, QPR1st

QPR1st supports the call for major reform of the Football Association

Damian Collins MP, chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee said yesterday that the FA’s current structure “makes it impossible for it to reform itself. As such, there is currently no effective governing body for football in England that is capable of responding to the challenges that face the modern game.”

 Supporters Direct (SD) and The Football Supporters Federation (FSF) have supported the call for a clearer and more representative FA and, if necessary, Government legislation to bring about change.

 We were involved in a meeting of SD and the FSF that came up with 20 recommendations on how the FA could be more representative and an effective regulator of the game.

 More on that is here:

 http://www.supporters-direct.org/news-article/sd-the-fsf-call-for-an-independent-representative-f-a-for-the-modern-era

Posted in Media, QPR1st