Giving Orient fans a voice
Leyton Orient Fans' Trust
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LOFT statement: EFL

The LOFT board notes the statement regarding the EFL, put out by Leyton Orient FC on 7 November.

LOFT has also been corresponding with the EFL as recently as a week ago, and for several months, about our outstanding list of concerns around whether and how the EFL had exercised its own rules in respect of the club. At no point did the EFL mention in correspondence that discussions were taking place with the club on "outstanding regulatory and disciplinary matters" – that is of course its right for reasons of confidentiality, nonetheless it would surely have been relevant to mention in the context of our request.

The EFL had committed publicly to respond to us, and in correspondence we were eventually promised one in mid-October – the timing due to a stated desire on the EFL's part not to influence the consultation launched in September with its member clubs on conduct of owners.

We accepted that pledge, but more recently the EFL then told us that they now believed that any response at all during the period of the review could negatively affect its outcome.

We advised the EFL on 6 November that we did not accept their reasons for withholding a response. We believe that any full, open and honest discussion about future EFL regulation has to include the full facts about how the EFL dealt (or did not deal) with a recent 'crisis club'. Our questions were ones of fact on whether the EFL had followed its existing rules – not whether the rules themselves are fit for purpose. Further, the consultation isn’t taking place in a vacuum - the events at Leyton Orient and other 'crisis clubs' will have had an influence on club owners' thinking anyway.

The LOFT board is of course pleased to note that the shadow of potential disciplinary matters hanging over Leyton Orient has lifted. And of course we agree with the sentiment expressed by O's chairman Nigel Travis in the club's statement, on the importance of the way the EFL oversees club owners. But that does not mean that the EFL can hide behind a limited consultation with only its member clubs, as a way of avoiding the light currently being shone on football's governing authorities regarding club regulation.

The welcome change of ownership at the club means that all Orient fans can look to hopefully a brighter future. But that future for LOFT includes being part of the growing call for real change in how football as a whole is regulated. By definition that includes how EFL clubs are regulated, because no football fan should ever go through what Orient fans experienced.

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