Giving Orient fans a voice
Leyton Orient Fans' Trust
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Supporters Summit 2013

The 2013 Supporters Summit took place on Saturday 22 June, held jointly by Supporters Direct (SD) and the Football Supporters' Federation (FSF). Bringing together representatives of around 110 organisations, the Summit was a chance to discuss the issues that matter to supporters, and included among its speakers FA Chairman David Bernstein and SD co-founder and former Chair, Andy Burnham MP.

LOFT is a member of both SD and the FSF, and we were represented at the Summit by co-opted committee member (aka 'trustee') Tony Roome, who also represented the Leyton Orient Supporters Club in his capacity as Supporters Club committee member. Tony's write-up of the Summit is available here on the Supporters Club website, while the two hosting organisations' reports can be viewed here and here.

The Summit also served as the AGMs for both SD and the FSF. Tony's write-up of the SD AGM is below; many thanks to Tony for representing us:

Around 50 people attended the meeting, which was chaired by the SD Chairman Brian Burgess. I am assured by those who have attended many SD AGMs that this was the best organised and attended for a considerable time.

The formal part of the AGM undertook the usual review of last year’s meeting minutes, which were approved without amendment. This was followed by the Annual Report and accounts which were presented by the Chief Executive, David Lampitt. David was appointed a year ago and has made significant progress in his first year. He highlighted the following key achievements for 2012:

  • SD has expanded and now represents some 300,000 supporters organised into 177 trusts. Of these, only around 115 are full members of the organisation, the rest effectively being associate members (associate status was formally included in the rules at a later point in the AGM). 11 new trusts were formed this year. By the end of this year it is anticipated that SD will represent close on 400,000 supporters of football and rugby league.
  • 10 clubs were converted to community/fan ownership – amongst them 4 in rugby league and 2 in the football league.
  • After giving evidence at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee into football and governance (at which some 48% of the evidence was submitted by supporters’ organisations), SD – along with FSF – were amongst the few to be called back to give further evidence to the committee following its initial findings.
  • The ‘Key Principles of Cub Licensing’ document was launched at parliament and received the backing of a significant number of MPs.
  • After the closure of SD operations in Scotland in 2010, David reported that a new office had been opened, a new head of SD in Scotland had been appointed, and funding from the Scottish Government of £140k per year for the next 3 years had been agreed – subject to SD meeting the objectives set in the funding agreement. SD in Scotland are heavily involved with the three main ‘problem clubs’ – Rangers, Hearts and Dunfermline. The SD Scottish Council is beginning to function as intended.
  • European activities now account for roughly one third of all SD activities and income. This has improved the profile of SD in Europe – to the point that the Commissioner who includes sport in his portfolio, requested a meeting with SD (his first with a fans organisation).
  • There are now 11 trusts established in Rugby League, and some 6 fan-owned clubs. Funding from RFL has been cut in light of their financial difficulties.
  • Income from the Fans Fund (Premier League) represented 80% of SD funding in 2009, only 35% this year reflecting the lack of will of the PL to fund fans organisations. While this is a negative effect financially, it is positive in the sense of the increased independence of SD. The income gap has been filled by additional SD paid activities and SD look forward to the day when no funding from the PL is needed.
  • Funding from UEFA has now been secured until 2016/17; from Scottish Government to 2015.

An informal discussion followed the reports concerning the future governance of SD, in particular the make up of the Councils and the Board. A paper will be sent to member trusts when the proposals are further advanced for discussion and comment.

The meeting closed at 8.30pm.

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