Talking to the Premier League

Representatives of QPR 1st Supporters’ Trust, the LSA, We Are the Rangers Boys and qprnet.com met with representatives of the Premier League at Loftus Road yesterday to discuss ‘The Premier League, TV and the future of football’.

The meeting took place in the wake of the biggest ever TV deal for Premier League.

The Premier League’s director of policy, Bill Bush and head of supporter services, Cathy Long wanted to know what were the issues supporters were raising.  The meeting was hosted by QPR’s customer services manager Andy Rees.

 Issues raised included: 
Changing dates and times for games – dictated by tv companies and by Champions’ League and Europa Cup games. The problems for supporters were outlined, particularly in relation to train and, for some, airline tickets. Cathy Long said the PL was looking at negotiating a deal with a train ticket company. It was also suggested the PL could explain better the complexity of game scheduling.
Some of the new money coming into the game from the TV deal should be used to

  • Freeze or reduce ticket prices
  • Extend the away supporters scheme (with discussion between clubs and supporter groups on how this can best be done)
  • Pay all staff and contractors the Living Wage – so lower paid people working for clubs see benefit from the TV windfall and not just highly-paid players and agents
  • The need for more resources for lower level football so that more local players will get into the professional game, and action to get more children into playing football
  • Problems of people standing at games; particularly the problems this causes for children and older people.

 

Posted in All News, Community, QPR1st

Manifesto to reform football in England and Wales

Manifesto to reform football in England and Wales

 With a General Election in the offing, Supporters’ Direct has published a manifesto on key policy issues for football in this country.   This document has been created following extensive discussions with members, activists and others. It reflects the many practical issues that have been consistently raised over recent years.

It provides a set of policy areas that can be addressed through political and government means, but also refers to issues that we ourselves need to campaign on, and which government and politicians can use their influence on to ensure that we get the change we need in our national game.

 QPR1st will be raising these issues with local general election candidiates and urges supporter to ask their local candidates to support the manifesto.

 The manifesto

Supporters Direct (SD) is the umbrella group for supporters’ trusts in England, Wales and Scotland and has an increasingly influential and powerful influence in continental Europe.

Since 2000 we have campaigned for the introduction of reforms that ensure that supporters have a formal role in the ownership and governance of their football clubs.

We believe that:

  • clubs are not simply businesses.
  • fans are not simply consumers of a product.
  • supporters are an intrinsic part of a club.
  • consulting them in a democratic and structured way leads to better decision making which benefits both the club and community.

an ideal structure for a club would see overall control being held by supporters and the wider community. We recognise that that is not always possible to achieve, and that other ownership structures can work well if they include supporters in a structured and democratic way at both governing and operational level.

We believe that governments and sports governing bodies have a crucial role to play in enshrining these principles in regulation and legislation. Political parties have, to a greater or lesser extent, accepted many of them already and involving supporters has been widely accepted as a positive development from people within the game: now is the time for accepted principles to turn into action.

In 2011 and 2013 the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee published a series of recommendations which, although largely accepted by the football authorities, have never been implemented. We believe this is unacceptable, and therefore we call upon all political parties to:

Address the issue of reform of the FA to alter the balance of power in the game, and ensure that it can take the lead, as an independent regulator, in decision making for issues of major significance for football.

Implement an effective licensing system for football clubs which enshrines the rights of supporters.

Support the work of the Expert Working Group on Supporter Ownership and Engagement, which will produce an interim report in March 2015.

  • Implement the SD proposal for Community Owned Sports Clubs (COSCs).
  • Implement a tighter and more effective Owners and Directors Test and empower the FA to police it adequately.
  • Ensure that football makes public the name(s) of the ultimate individuals who own and control our clubs.
  • Ensure that every professional football club has in place a formal structured plan for meaningful engagement and consultation with supporters groups.
  • Give supporters the opportunity to bid to take control of their club if there is a change of ownership.
  • Remove barriers to supporter ownership and facilitate the introduction of independent and/or supporter directors on club boards.
  • Develop a Code of Governance for football clubs at least as robust as that operating in the wider business community.

In our view, these demands are reasonable and achievable. Their aim is to ensure that the game we all love is fit for the future, engages with supporters and its other important stakeholders fairly and allows full input from the community in which clubs and the wider game operate. The time is right.   

Posted in All News, Community, QPR1st

Public Premiers of ‘R’ Story

The public premiere of  ‘R’ Story is set to take place at The Lexi Cinema with additional showings at the Bush Theatre

Lexi Cinema

Where: 194b Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Rise, London, NW10 3JU

When: Saturday 28 February at 14:00pm

Tickets: £5 and available from the Lexi: https://thelexicinema.co.uk/story-qpr-0

Bush Theatre

Where: 7 Uxbridge Road, London, W12 8LJ

When:

  • Monday 2 March & Tuesday 3 March 2015 from 19:00 to 22:00 (Exclusive film screening followed by a Q&A with the film makers and special guests)
  • Wednesday 4 March from 17:30 (special pre-match screening)

Tickets: £3 from EventBrite: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/octavia-foundation-and-the-qpr-in-the-community-trust-2177743235

Posted in All News

Your questions to the club

Your questions to the club

 QPR chairman Tony Fernandes will be on the club’s London Call-In this week and the club has asked for questions to be tweeted to them before the broadcast on #LCI

 It is good that supporters will have the opportunity to hear him answering questions – but it would be even better if he was sitting down with supporters at a fans’ forum or talking with supporter organisations so there could be a real dialogue.

 We have been informed that the club intends to hold a fans’ forum before the end of the season and a fans’ representative meeting is on the cards once issues to be discussed have been agreed.

 We asked members what they thought were the most important issues.  These are the issues put forward for discussion – perhaps some will be asked on London call-in too.

 Ticket prices –will they be frozen for next year the Premier League, especially given the new TV deal, and reduced if we are relegated?

 The proposed new stadium – will there be more consultation with supporters before the planning application goes in?  What is the latest on proposed size, design and timing of the stadium?

 Bringing youth through and the training ground:

Given the recent trend to bring in seasoned pros into the first team squad, what opportunities are being offered to home developed talent.  It must be five years since we have seen someone come thru the system.

The training facitlities – some feel this is even more important than the stadium.  What is the current situation regarding purchasing this land?  When will we know if this project can go ahead? Is it possible to redevelop the existing training ground at Harlington to allow us to upgrade facilities to Academy status ?

The Living Wage – footballers earn a fortune; will the club pay make sure all staff and contractors are paid at least the Living Wage?

 The club restructure – with the creation of the director of football and chief coach posts, and the departure of the ceo,  what is the plan for the management of the club?  Will a new ceo be prepared to talk to supporters and supporter organisations?

 Thank you to QPR1st members who e-mailed in with questions.

 More about London Call-in is here:

http://www.qpr.co.uk/news/article/london-call-in-qpr-tony-fernandes-premier-league-2276161.aspx#2rQtE7CqpohKXBrV.99

Posted in All News, Boardroom, Community

The Away Supporters Initiative

The Away Supporters Initiative commits Premier League clubs to spending £200,000 per club, per season on improving the match-day experience for fans travelling to away matches. Clubs have chosen to spend this money in different ways but where best practice has been observed, the money has been allocated in consultation with the fans.

The dispute that has now broken out between the Club and the Loyal Supporters Club is therefore regrettable as it perhaps could have been avoided if the Club had stuck to its original plans to hold a special ‘fans representatives meeting’ to which the LSA should expect to be invited at the start of this season to discuss how the money could be best spent.

As a supporters trust, QPR1st’s primary role is to ensure that the Club is run in the best interests of the fans and we believe that this includes establishing a constructive dialogue with the LSA as a well established and popular fans group. We do not know if it is too late to review how the funds are being spent this season but assuming that we stay in the Premier League and avoid relegation, we hope that consultation with supporters about how the money is to be spent next season takes place.

The Away Fans Fund Initiative

The Away Fans Fund Initiative came from money raised by the new TV deal which the Premier League asked Clubs to spend on improving the away fan experience both in terms of their own away fans and those visiting them. £200,000 was ring-fenced but this was intended to represent the minimum that clubs were meant to spend and they were encouraged to top up the fund from their own resources.

Below is some of the ways it is understood Clubs spent the money in the first season it was set up- mostly on subsided travel or improvements in facilities for away fans at their own stadiums. Some made reciprocal deals with other Clubs whilst Newcastle offered disabled fans free away travel. Liverpool and Manchester United are examples of clubs who spent the money based on consultation with fans groups.

 QPR was of course not in the premier league at the time so this is the first season in which it has had to allocate the funds.

Arsenal= fans received a £2.50 discount on every remaining away Premier League match ticket. The club also provided away supporters with a £10 refreshments voucher at an away fixture and invested in the away end at the EmiratesAston Vila  offered travelling supporters free coach travel for ten games this season.

Cardiff City subsided 30 coaches for Norwich City away so fans only had to pay £5.

Chelsea subsided travel for at least 10 away games this season including long trips to Everton, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Sunderland.

Crystal Palace and Swansea City  dida reciprocal deal which meant ‘any adult ticket can be purchased at half-price with every full-price junior ticket’. The Jacks also promised to provide a free hot meal for every travelling fan at Southampton on October 6.

Fulham provided four free coaches at every Premier League away game. The club also handed out free away tickets to junior season ticket holders and members.

Hull offered free travel to away games and had nearly 30 coaches going to Everton on Saturday 19th October. The club also offered free travel to Spurs (league and cup), Southampton, Arsenal, and Swansea City.

Liverpool reduced away ticket prices by £2-£4, dependent on the opposition. The decision was taken after consultation with the club’s Supporters’ Committee.

Manchester City Half-price tickets were on onoffer to season-ticket holders at selected away games. Games wer chosen if a considerable travelling distance is involved. Work was also taken to improve the away stand at  the Etihad

Manchester United consulted the Fans’ Forum and knocked £4 off the price of every away ticket bought by a United fan, starting with the Fulham game on November 2.

Newcastle United funded disabled away fan travel for the remainder of the season.

Norwich City offered ‘double discount’ for trips to both Manchester clubs. The club also laid on 25 free coaches for the trip to Hull City and offered half price tickets for Stoke City away.

Stoke City offered free coach travel to away fans for all Premier League fixtures.

Sunderland offered away tickets at certain fixtures by £10 and improved the concourse, signage and bar areas for travelling fans. The Black Cats also produced 40,000 guidebooks for visiting fans with things to see and do while in the area.

Spurs offered subsidised travel to all 14 top-flight games outside of the London area. They also refurbished areas used to accommodate visiting fans at the Lane.

West Bromwich Albion provided free coach travel for 2,000 West Brom fans at a yet-to-be-confirmed fixture. Discounted ticket offers for selected games were also made available to away fans visiting the Hawthorns. Away fans also benefited from the reduced food and drink prices in the concourses at the Hawthorns

Posted in All News, Community

Resignation of Phil Beard

Following his resignation as chief executive of QPR, QPR 1st Supporters Trust wishes Phil Beard well for the future.

The Supporters Trust will aim to establish a positive relationship with his successor.

The officer with responsibility for running day to day affairs at the club sets the tone for what kind of club they want QPR to be. We hope that in whatever new managerial arrangements are being established that the most senior management position will be occupied by someone who is keen to work in partnership with the traditional fan-base – demonstrating that the board understands the difference between football fans and supermarket customers.

The appointment of a director of football has no doubt impacted on the position of chief executive, and we hope the club is changing in a positive way.

We hope the new arrangements will be clear and the lines of responsibility will be fully explained to supporters.

We also hope that the new person with chief executive responsibilities will be able to get progress on Warren Farm training ground and the new stadium at Old Oak, and communicate with and fully involve supporters.

The Trust believes it is important for the future of the club that supporters can have a good relationship with the club’s senior management and we look forward to meeting members of the board and new management team in the near future.

 

Posted in All News, Boardroom

Call for TV deal money to be used to reduce prices

he Football Supporters’ Federation has launched a petition here which calls for Premier League clubs to use their TV deal to lower ticket prices, and greater redistribution to the grassroots of football.

 The petition auto-generates an email to each signatory’s club.

 The petititon says:

 The Premier League has signed a new TV mega-deal worth £5.14bn, and that’s just for UK rights. The increase from the last domestic deal alone equates to £40+ for every fan, at every game; top-flight clubs have to bring down ticket prices and support lower-league/grassroots football. There are five billion reasons why clubs should #shareTVwealth!

 Fans demand that clubs:

1   Drop prices for home fans;

2   Commit to the FSF’s Twenty’s Plenty away price cap;

3   Redistribute more wealth to support lower-league and grassroots football.

Posted in All News, Community

QPR Fans Reps to meet with Premier League

QPR1st Supporters Trust together with other fans reps have been invited by the Club to attend a meeting with the Premier League on the topic of ‘The Premier League, TV and the future football’. Cathy Long, Head of Supporters Services and Bill Bush Director of Policy will be attending. We hope that this will be a good opportunity for us to air fans views on broadcasting issues in the game.

Posted in All News, Community, Media, QPR1st

QPR Awarded Autism Access Award

The Supporters Trust wish to congratulate Queens Park Rangers  for being the first major spectator sports arena to be awarded The National Autistic Society (NAS) Autism Access Award.

The award will be presented to the club before the Barclays Premier League home fixture against Southampton on 7 January by Stephen Davies, an NAS Trustee and passionate QPR supporter.

The award is given to organisations that are committed to being autism friendly. Previous recipients include the national parliaments of Northern Ireland and Wales and the RAF Museum in Hendon.

As part of the work to achieve the award, the club asked people with autism and their families attending home matches to complete a survey about how the club could be made more accessible. Their suggestions formed the basis of an action plan to help QPR meet the needs of people with autism.

The club’s website now includes a downloadable easy-read guide to help people with autism prepare for a visit, including tips for those who may have sensory issues around large crowds. The club is committed to ensuring that staff who have direct contact with fans receive autism-awareness training.

QPR also supports people with autism in the community. They run an after-school football club for children with autism and provide sessions for adults attending a local day centre. An extensive multi-sports schools programme also includes many pupils with autism.

Andy Rees, Supporters Liaison Officer, said: “Being involved in the Autism Access Award has really helped us to appreciate what we can do to make matchdays a more enjoyable experience for visitors with autism.

“We are privileged to receive the award, but consider that this is very much the start of a process in terms of making sure we are doing the very best we can and learning from the feedback.”

Posted in All News, Community, Events

R’story launched

 “R’story” had its press launch at Loftus Road on Wednesday, 4 February when the hour-long film about the club and its supporters had its first screening.

 QPR1st helped to sponsor the film and Stephen Dedridge, chair of the trust, introduced the film, alongside Reena Mukherji of the Octavia Foundation, which led the production of the film, and Andy Evans, CEO of the QPR in the Community Trust.

 The film shows why QPR is important to its supporters. As well as recording the views and experience of supporters and past players, and those things that make QPR a part of west London, it does not shy away from issues such as ticket prices, terracing and safe-standing, and the growing distance between supporters and players.

 The film will be going public with a screening at 2pm at the Lexi cinema in Kensal Rise on Saturday 28 February (QPR is not playing that day).  It will then tour other cinemas and will be available as a DVD in the summer.

 More information about the film and the young people who made it is on www.octaviafoundation.org.uk.

Posted in All News, Community, Media

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